“Bro-vets” outrage over firearm dealer’s Memorial Day “thank you” forces them to apologize

A firearms supply company was forced to issue an apology over Memorial Day weekend after some veterans allegedly became outraged with an advertisement, giving rise to a larger question- was the outrage really that necessary?

Primary Arms, which “provide[s] firearms enthusiasts, professional shooters, and servicemen and women the highest quality optics at affordable prices,” put out a “Happy Memorial Day!” flyer via email and social media that drew some criticism.

“In recognition of Memorial Day, Primary Arms would like to thank all veterans and active duty military, who risk great sacrifice in the protection of our nation,” the company wrote on the e-flyer, titled “Happy Memorial Day!”

While it could be argued that the words “thank all veterans and active duty military” and “risk great sacrifice” could also easily encompass the true meaning of Memorial Day (to remember the fallen), it apparently generated enough controversy that the company felt compelled to issue an apology on the same day.

“Earlier today we sent out an email with a horrible mistake,” wrote Marshall Lerner, CEO of Primary Arms.  “We used an inappropriate banner and Veterans Day language for the somber occasion of Memorial Day. We understand this is a day of remembrance and have a deep appreciation for the men and women who gave their lives protecting freedom. Please accept our sincere apology.”

The responses across social media were mixed.

“No apology necessary to me,” wrote John Scante. “I didn’t give the [original] email a second thought.”

Others apparently did not care for the wordage -which was apparently done in error by a single employee- or the less-than-somber tone of the email.

“Happy Memorial Day? What the Fuck? What’s so happy about it? I am a combat medic veteran who’s friends have perished so you can have a day off and cook hamburgers and drink beer? I hope you never feel the pain I go through every day,” wrote Patrick Pounds on Primary Arms’ Facebook page. “It’s called PTSD. LOOK IT UP. I was a customer. But shit like this separates the posers from the real companies who care. There’s too much competition for the same things you sell. Please, get a grip.”

“I received your ‘apology’ email,” replied Ken Hugh Bleevit to a post by Primary Arms. “I’m glad someone brought to your attention the difference between ‘celebrating’ Veterans Day and ‘solemnly remembering’ Memorial Day. Still, it’s sad that for a business to spend more time preparing for making money (sales promotional material) than researching what day it actually is.”

The “bro-vet” issue of Memorial Day “culture enforcement” was exemplified and parodied, respectively, across social media, with many people mocking how some veterans feel the need to virtue signal when people publicly post about enjoying themselves on the holiday.

At least for Primary Arms, veterans, like Jacob Curtis, were a little more open-minded.

“I didn’t even pay attention to the banner on the first email and had to go back and look when I got the apology email,” he wrote. “I didn’t even think it was a big deal. As a matter of fact, the guys I know who never came back would want us to have a Happy Memorial Day and drink beer, eat BBQ, and enjoy time with family and friends. All because they can’t…and in celebration of their lives and sacrifice. The whiners and cry babies can pound sand.”

Pound sand, indeed.

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