One of my paying gigs immerses me in all things veterans, and believe it or not there is a debate brewing amongst them... (Aside from the bad feelings of past conflict veterans that all new services and bills being introduced are for those that served after 9/11)
Parade or no parade for the returning Iraq War Veterans?
Half the camp (including past participants of this site Army Girl & CBFTW) says no parade. That it would be disrespectful to those that are still in harm's way in Afghanistan. They believe the money that would be used for a parade should indeed be allotted for veterans and be used to provide much needed service.
The other camp, 'led' by the outspoken founder of IAVA Paul Rieckhoff, contend that the veterans returning from multiple deployments deserve at least the same amount of fanfare as recognition than men that recently won a football game.
"But the Defense Department, noting that American soldiers are still fighting in Afghanistan, says it is too soon for a celebration with the recognition and symbolism of a New York City parade.
Some of the country’s largest veterans’ groups seemed uncertain about a parade. A spokesman for the American Legion declined to comment. A spokesman for the Veterans of Foreign Wars said at first that he understood the Pentagon’s position, but then went on to praise the organizers of the St. Louis parade and to say that, if Mr. Bloomberg decided to hold a parade now, the organization would support him." (source)
So, what do you think? Does honoring the veterans that have returned diminish the ones that are still fighting? Should we have a Operation Iraqi Freedom parade now and an Operation Enduring Freedom later...or wait until everyone is home?
My only concern is that in this world of ever-growing threats...will there ever be a time when everyone is home?