Thursday, February 9, 2012

PARADES SHOULDN'T JUST BE FOR OUR SPORTS HEROES

The Super Bowl victory by the New York Giants and the ensuing victory parade that followed opened a can of worms, so to speak, as to who is deserving and when its appropriate to celebrate.   Not only is this issue relative to New York, it also has some local legs.  Let's first take a look at New York. 

The New York Times offered this to its subscribers on Monday....

"The New York Giants on Tuesday will be showered with confetti and greeted by throngs as they are feted with the city’s most storied honor: a parade through its Canyon of Heroes.

Our troops deserve some of this....
But all the fanfare — the parade this week is the fourth since 2000 to honor a sports team — has touched off anger and unease among some returned Iraq veterans, who are eagerly awaiting their own recognition.

“Everybody recognizes that the Giants deserve a parade,” said Paul Rieckhoff, founder and executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.  But, he added, “If a football team gets a parade, shouldn’t our veterans?”

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who has long expressed his regret that the United States did not do a better job honoring veterans of the Vietnam War in the 1970s, has cited advice from the Pentagon in deciding it was not appropriate to hold a parade while American soldiers are still fighting in Afghanistan.

But a growing coalition of veterans, elected officials and other public figures are disagreeing, saying it is time to celebrate the men and women who served in Iraq. Leslie H. Gelb, the president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, a former correspondent for The New York Times and a board member of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, called the Pentagon’s position “supercilious sensitivity” and “Washington-think.”

“Celebrating the Iraqi vets doesn’t negate a future celebration for the Afghan vets or deny that we’re still at war,” Mr. Gelb said, adding that “if we had to wait to honor our servicemen and women until wars were over, that would take a long time.”

So, how does this impact little old Iowa?  Well....I got to thinking.  Heck, if the question can be raised in New York, why not here?  Haven't we recently seen the return of the largest deployment of Iowa soldiers since World War II?  In all truth, did they receive the welcome home they were deserving?  

As I look back on the departure of my son to Afghanistan in July of 2010 and his return in the summer of 2011 there are a couple of things that impacted me.  In both cases, friends and relatives made up the vast majority of the audiences.  While there was great pomp and circumstance, I've always wondered what a huge throng would have done for the hearts and minds of the soldiers, the families and the community.

New Yorker Paul Rieckhoff called for a parade for veterans to honor them in an appropriate way.  So, why can't we Iowans think the same way?  We are roughly seven months removed from our Iowa Guardsmen coming home.  But in some sense it seems like seven years.  Memories are fading quickly....except that is, for those who were wounded or lost loved ones.

I'm going to offer a few thoughts and hope and pray this moves someone other than little old me to carry a torch.

1.  Is there a company or group of companies that would be willing to help underwrite costs and promote a parade?

2. Are our state leaders willing to step up and serve as a voice for each and every soldier that lives in their district?

3.  Are there organizations, i.e., the Patriot Guard Riders of Iowa and a number more that would be willing to donate their services to such an event.....either leading up to the day or the day itself?

4.  Is there a location/venue that would jump at the opportunity to host a parade and final destination celebration that puts a "cap" to the day?

5.  Are there other like-minded individuals that feel the way I do, that our military "deserves" a parade as a fitting testament to their service?  and are they ready to help make that day possible?

Should you feel this information moves you to get involved, contact me at jkmyfathersvoice@gmail.com 


YGG,

John    
      


     

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Mr. Kelling for honoring our REAL heroes, our military. I agree with you wholeheartedly.

    ReplyDelete