The New York Football Giants just celebrated their Superbowl victory down the canyon of heroes. (Full disclosure, I am a HUGE Gmen fan) With the football super stars getting beautiful floats, a parade into Manhattan, and a key to the city, there have been some grumblings from certain Veteran groups that cities across America should honor Iraq War Veterans with a parade.
I could not disagree more.
Ok, besides my affection (or lack there of) for parades (see this post), I think there are a few valid reasons why cities, especially New York, should not have a parade to commemorate the end of the conflict in Iraq or “honor those Veterans”.
First, there is still conflict in Iraq. It is not stable, civilians are still dying in scores, and although there are no longer formal operations, I would be willing to bet there are a few US agents hanging around making things happen (or not happen). For their sake, is it really a message we want to send to the world? Oh, by the way, we still have a war going on in Afghanistan.
America: hey, um Iraq you got a minute?
Iraq: well, im kinda busy, but I can spare a few, what’s up?
America: so, um, i know we like came in here and kinda tossed some stuff around for a while, but we have really been working hard to put it back together…
Iraq: uh huh…
America: and since we are now “out” of your country, I was wondering if you would mind if we throw a celebration…
Iraq: <interrupting America> celebration? like a little dinner party?
America: I was thinking more like a parade… in every major city in America.
Iraq: just get out…
Second, there really isn’t a continuing precedence for having a parade after a war. If we throw out World War II, there has not been a parade. (And in the case of World War II, peace actually broke out…) With Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Grenada, the first Gulf War, was there a parade in NYC to commemorate the end and withdrawal? Nope. No lobbying for this type of parade, which brings me to my next and final point.
Finally, we already have two parades a year across the country. They are held on Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. If you want to put emphasis in those parades on Iraq Vets, I’m cool with that (incidentally, this is the 50th anniversary of the start of the Vietnam war, if anyone deserves some long overdue thanks, its those Vets, but again, I digress) In a time when our economy is struggling and budgets are being hacked and slashed to death, do we really need to burden cities with another event, and possibly an unsubsidized one at that? New York has a parade in November every year.
Let’s cool down this whole throw Iraq Vets a parade noise. We as a Veterans community and nation have bigger things to work on. I would rather the same effort be directed into job training and services for homeless Veterans. How about put the attention towards reducing unemployment for all Veterans, not just Iraq and Afghanistan Vets?
To me, this is a self interested cause drummed up by a few groups seizing a media opportunity and ignoring all the reasons NOT to do a parade.
But, I am a bit biased. I don’t like parades… or wasting resources best used elsewhere… or unfinished business.