Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: A serviceman in uniform was refused service at a popular bar or restaurant because the establishment's owners didn't support the war in Iraq.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, 2003]
Origins: The preceding tale began circulating on the Internet in March 2003, but it is only one expression of a rumor that has appeared in other towns, where it is also told as a true, local, and recent occurrence.
Jim Heffernan, a writer for the Duluth News Tribune, asked readers who could prove any of the incidents being described had actually taken place to contact him, put him in touch with the serviceman who had been turned away, or at least give him the serviceman's name. A week later he penned a followup article stating no one had come forward.
As for the Hilton Head, South Carolina, version of the legend, we spoke to the manager of the Wild Wing Cafe about the rumor. He said the story was "a complete lie" and that "we support our troops 100%", adding that they'd "had a group of
There are a number of ridiculous claims in thisDuring our conversation with the manager of the Wild Wing Cafe, he described another recent incident which could also have been the starting point for this rumor. Five guys not in uniform but sporting buzz cuts, and one with his arm in a cast, left the Big Bamboo Cafe (the bar across the street) without paying their tab. The bartender there telephoned Wild Wing and asked them to be on the lookout for those fellows. The fivesome came into Wild Wing, whereupon the bartender told them about the abandoned tab across the street and said he'd call over to Big Bamboo to see if it couldn't be straightened out. While he was making the call, the five young men disappeared.
When this rumor first began last week we talked to our staff and found that there was an incident in the past week or so where a handful of Marines, male and female (not in uniform) came to our door after
Over the years Wild Wing Cafe has been proud to be supportive of the community. We have sponsored your teams and schools, your kids and their organizations. Now we are asking for your support. When someone tells you that Wild Wing Cafe won't serve the military as a protest to this war, tell them in no uncertain terms, that is a lie.
It's possible either of the two incidents being described could have touched off a yarn about servicemen being shunned by those rabidly against the war with Iraq. These are emotionally charged times, impelling many to perceive slights where none exist or to misparse events so as to transform a Marine turned away for not presenting a valid ID into someone given the boot by folks vehement in their opposition to the war. So many of the rumors of our times are the result of honest mishearings, misunderstandings, or misrememberings of real events or accounts of them that this type of shift
We expect many more communities to be visited by the "shunned serviceman" story before it fully runs it course. It is, after all, the sort of shocking tale those angered by the
In late-2004 in an instance of ostension, a Marine was refused service at a convenience store in Fort Worth. The employee involved was fired once news of the act reached the store's owner.
Barbara "slight readjustment" Mikkelson
Last updated: 6 December 2005
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