The St Louis welcome home parade for Iraq campaign veterans was a huge success. I had a great time and was able to meet up with my good friend Mark Seavey who is also a veteran of the Iraqi Campaign in the Global War on Terror. We briefly discussed the topic of if a parade honoring Iraq veterans was appropriate when we still have so many troops fighting in Afghanistan (many of whom are Iraq veterans). We came to the same conclusion; it is very appropriate and we’ll just have another parade to honor Afghanistan veterans.
However, DoD doesn’t feel the same way when it comes to a “New York-style ticker-tape parade” for veterans according to Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Douglas B. Wilson. DoD leadership feels it is “too soon” primarily because of the number of Iraq veterans now serving in Afghanistan, but is waiting really the right answer?
The answer is a resounding no. The Iraq war costed our nation the lives of some our finest men and women and many more were wounded physically and mentally. Honoring their sacrifice and that of their families now is the right thing to do.
A mistake was already made after the invasion of Iraq by allowing the Afghanistan campaign become the forgotten war. The Iraq campaign becoming the new forgotten war would be a grave disservice to those that served, a majority of whom are not currently deployed to Afghanistan. Waiting for the end of the Afghanistan campaign is not an option especially when there is no telling when American forces will withdrawn despite plans by the current administration and DoD in the works.
I felt a feeling of closure when I attended the St Louis parade that was amazing even though I returned from my deployment to Iraq in 2007. I’m sure many veterans will experience the same feeling and they deserve to have closure sooner rather than later.
Image courtesy flickr user twbuckner