Float Maker Talks Controversy

By: WOWT 6 News Email
By: WOWT 6 News Email

Attendees of the Norfolk Fourth of July Parade would say one float stood out in particular last weekend. The political message has received national attention.

The float held an outhouse reading “Obama Presidential Library.” A mannequin next to it was believed to portray President Obama.

The creator of the float, H. Dale Remmich, told WOWT's sister station KTIV he's sorry for the misconception.

“It's me. I've got on my bibs. Yes, I've got my walker. I'm turning green and some say I look like a zombie. But I am not a hate-monger and I'm not a racist," says Remmich.

Remmich says he did not mean any disrespect for the presidency. He is a veteran, and says he is angry over the ongoing issues of the Veteran's Affairs Administration.

“I have three very close friends that are under VA care - or lack thereof it - right now," says Remmich. "I tried to use political satire as best I could, but to be honest with you it's mostly political disgust, simply no more or no less.”

Organizers of the 39th Annual Odd Fellows Fourth of July Parade released a statement Monday saying the entry was satire and they do not agree or disagree with the content.

They say the entry followed the rules for the parade and that it was no more offensive than a political cartoon.

But Glory Kathurima, an immigrant from Kenya, who lives in Norfolk, says she was deeply offended.

"I was thinking 'What are you guys laughing at? What's remotely funny about this?' I don't see any sort of policy being argued. I don't see any sort of stance being taken," says Kathurima.

Monday, Norfolk Mayor Sue Fuchtman issued a statement making it clear that while the city issued a permit for the parade, it did not sponsor the event.

The statement read, in part, "We recognize and respect our citizens' differing political beliefs and their rights to express them freely; however, we are disappointed that the occasion of this family-friendly celebration of America's birth was used in a way that disparaged the office of the president."

"This incident and the controversy it caused does not reflect the character and spirit of our city or our state."


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