In light of the upcoming New York Giant’s Super Bowl victory parade in New York City, public outcry for a parade honoring soldiers who have returned from Iraq are growing louder:
A ticker-tape parade for the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants on Tuesday has helped spark a growing national debate over how veterans coming back from the Iraq War should be honored.
“Getting Super Bowl-champ football players a parade in their hometowns is never an issue. But Iraq War veterans?” Paul Rieckhoff, founder of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, wrote in a blog post this week. “For some reason, they’re running into all kinds of resistance.”
In defense of the Gotham city government, and in fairness to King Bloomberg, he is only following direction from Pentagon leaders who are reluctant to hold a parade for Iraqi veterans while other service members were still fighting in Afghanistan.
Michael Bloomberg said that New York isn’t holding a parade at this time because Pentagon officials told the city they don’t want to have one with troops still fighting in Afghanistan.”We simply don’t think a national-level parade is appropriate while we continue to have America’s sons and daughters in harm’s way,” said Col. David Lapan, spokesman for Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey.
“While we are very appreciative of the offer to host such a parade to recognize the significant accomplishments of those who have served in Iraq, Gen. Dempsey has expressed the view that he doesn’t think it is appropriate while we still have forces engaged in combat operations in Afghanistan,” he said.
Fair enough, I suppose, but these concerns have not stopped other cities from hosting their own military parades.
But a parade for veterans held two weeks ago in St. Louis, which drew tens of thousands of people, has launched a movement for more parades across the country.Craig Schneider and Tom Appelbaum, two St. Louis men who had not served in the military, organized the St. Louis parade after posting the idea on a Facebook group and growing support there.
Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-Mo.), who represents St. Louis and attended the parade, called it “a stunning display of patriotism and gratitude for our returning troops from Iraq.
“To witness thousands of people along the parade route embrace these soldiers, saying ‘thank you, welcome home’ was truly inspirational,” he said.
Appelbaum said that since the parade, he’s received inquiries from citizens and officials in 20 cities across the country, from Tucson to Philadelphia to San Antonio, to hold parades of their own. He thinks New York should also hold one.
One can understand the importance of having a parade in New York City. It is the metropolis of the world and the economic and innovative signature city of the US. Moreover, the war that sent the men and women of our military to Afghanistan and Iraq started there. I see a very large parade there in the future but as long as the Pentagon hold objections, that day will have to wait.