No Iraq War Celebration for Returning Troops, No Homecoming Parade? Pentagon Says Team Obama Hasn’t Asked Them to Plan Anything to Welcome Our Heroes Home (video)
Posted By Vicki McClure Davidson on December 27, 2011
Disgracefully, Vietnam vets weren’t given a “welcome home” parade by the US government until 10 years after the US withdrew.
At this point, Team Obama has been disturbingly silent about honoring our courageous returning troops with any kind of celebration or ticker-tape parade as the last of them return home from the Iraq War.
Pentagon officials say they’ve heard nothing from the president or his crackerjack team at the White House on any plans to honor our returning troops as America did with joyous parades after WWII or Operation Desert Storm, aka Persian Gulf War.
However, the president DID play his 90th round of golf in Hawaii yesterday, breaking his previous record of playing more rounds of golf as president in less than three years than has any other president ever.
Americans won’t be seeing a huge ticker-tape parade in New York City anytime soon for troops returning from Iraq.
It’s not clear if veterans of the nine-year campaign will ever enjoy the grand, flag-waving, red-white-and-blue homecoming that the nation’s fighting men and women received after World War II and the Gulf War.
Officials in New York and Washington say they would be happy to help stage a big celebration, but Pentagon officials say they haven’t been asked to plan one.
Most welcome-homes have been smaller-scale: hugs from families at military posts across the country, a somber commemoration by President Barack Obama at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
From Huffington Post:
Two New York City councilmen, Republicans Vincent Ignizio and James Oddo, have called for a ticker-tape parade down the stretch of Broadway known as the Canyon of Heroes. A similar celebration after the Gulf War was paid for with more than $5.2 million in private donations, a model the councilmen would like to follow.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said last week that he was open to the idea but added, “It’s a federal thing that we really don’t want to do without talking to Washington, and we’ll be doing that.”
A spokesman for the mayor declined to elaborate on the city’s reasons for consulting with Washington. Ignizio said he had been told by the mayor’s office that Pentagon officials were concerned that a celebration could spark violence overseas and were evaluating the risk.
The only mass celebrations of U.S. military activities since Sept. 11, 2001, were largely spontaneous: Large crowds gathered in Times Square and outside the White House in April after Osama bin Laden was killed.
At the same time, Iraq veterans aren’t coming home to the hostility many Vietnam veterans encountered. The first large-scale event honoring Vietnam veterans was not held until 1982, when thousands marched in Washington for the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Parades were later held in New York in 1985 – 10 years after the war ended – and in Chicago the next year.
“I think we’ve seen recent history in Vietnam, where that wasn’t done appropriately, and we want to make sure we do the appropriate thing by those that made the ultimate sacrifice and risked their lives for us to say thanks,” Ignizio said.
At Fort Hood in Texas, troops have returned to welcome-home ceremonies at the post that were attended mostly by soldiers’ families. Soldiers in uniform run to hug their loved ones after an announcer yells, “Charge!”
In Washington, federal agencies take the lead on planning parades, and so far nothing is in the works. A spokesman for Mayor Vincent Gray said the city would be honored to host a parade but said local officials wouldn’t take the lead in staging one.
In recent years, most of the ticker-tape parades in New York have been held for the city’s championship sports teams.
“The sports celebrations that we’ve had in New York for the Yankees and the Mets were amazing,” Oddo said. “But these are the real heroes.”
Previous “welcome home” celebrations, parades, and tributes to our returning troops:
Hollywood Desert Storm Welcome Home Parade 1991
USCG PSU 303 DESERT STORM WELCOME HOME PARADE IN NEW YORK 1991
1991 Chicago Desert Storm Welcome Home Parade
Summary of the next video from YouTube contributor Ghost Watching:
Real colour footage of the celebrations at the end of World War Two, starting with VJ day in New York and then VE day in Britain and across Europe. I thought these images were amazing, as we usually only get to see this period of history in black and white.
VJ Day in New York, The End of WWII
I know many enlisted heroes who will say they don’t need a parade… and maybe some don’t. They say that they don’t need to be thanked, that serving their country is thanks enough. But for others, while they may not say so aloud, a federally recognized tribute for them being willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, to demonstrate America’s deep appreciation and respect for all that they’ve done, is in order.
And millions of patriotic Americans would likely agree.
Rather than the US government giving Pakistan millions of dollars to produce a kids’ TV show, or loaning *wink wink* hundreds of millions of dollars in crony-based loan guarantees to a bankrupt Solyndra, or spending millions on producing little-watched online soap operas targeting inner city residents, or squandering nearly $12 million on an energy assistance program that both the current and former administrations agree shouldn’t even exist (it’s entry #72 in Sen. Tom Coburn’s eye-popping December 2011 report on government waste), or annually mailing $120 million of retirement and disability benefits to dead federal employees, every year for at least the past five years (entry #7 of Coburn’s report), or spending $1.35 million for entrepreneurship training in Barbados (entry #50), or the United States Agency of International Development (USAID) spending $156,000 in eight countries to celebrate their own 50th anniversary (entry #73), the American federal government could instead use a fraction of that earmarked, taxpayer-funded porkulus, that horrifically wasted money on honoring our returning heroes.
Team Obama could easily trim some of its outrageous waste and fund a NYC parade, or a Chicago parade, or a DC parade, or any other large-city parade for our Iraq War troops.
They deserve it.