2012 Jan 31

written by Sherri Joubert

I’m honestly confused about the whole issue of waiting to welcome veterans home at the end of the Iraq war, even though some will be redeployed to Afghanistan. There were huge parades welcoming WW II vets home from Europe even though fighting was still going on in the Pacific.

Thank goodness St. Louis, MO, stood up and did the right thing. They had the first parade welcoming Iraq war veterans home last Saturday, January 28, 2012. At the end of the parade was a jobs and benefits fair for veterans.

Some veterans were moved to tears just because their home town thought enough of them to formally welcome them home with a parade and public celebration (2 min.):

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In my opinion, we should be celebrating our veterans exponentially more than we are currently. Just having people tell them thank you makes such a big difference. Anytime I see a veteran, I put out my hand to shake his or hers, and say “thank you for your service”. Their faces light up and they smile. Some won’t say anything, and some will tell you a little about where they served or how many deployments they’ve had.

The biggest question I get when I stop a vet and shake his or her hand is how did I know they were serving. My dad served for life in the Navy, and I know what military people look like, how they carry themselves, and many are still wearing their dog tags (biggest giveaway). I tell them about my dad if they ask.

Iraq was a separate war from Afghanistan. It’s end needs to be celebrated. We should celebrate again when our personnel come home from Afghanistan. There should be more parades on Veterans’ Day, and we should especially make an effort to publicly remember our fallen on Memorial Day. One thing that makes America so different from the rest of the world is we are a country because patriots fought and died for us to become a country. We’ve fought to protect our freedoms many times since then, even though what counts as our freedoms is still evolving.

I would like to see the replies to Paul Rieckhoff’s tweet to New York and Boston mayors. We have no problem throwing a big parade for our football teams, but we have to wait and consider whether it is right to throw a parade for our veterans? Come on!

Iraq turned out to be a preventive war which prevented nothing. Preventive war is actually imperialism, and it is illegal. There are three types of wars: reactionary, preemptive, and preventive. Reactionary war describes the Afghanistan war and Pacific theater of WW II. We were attacked on our own soil. We responded. Preemptive war is when you know another army is about to attack or invade you, and you attack them first. But preventive war is imperialism, as in the footsteps of Alexander the Great or Genghis Khan.

Over 4000 American service personnel died in this unnecessary war. Because we asked so many to fight and die in a preventive war, we owe Iraq vets a special thank you.

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11 Responses to “St. Louis first to welcome Iraq vets home”

  1. Michelle Vandepas Says:

    Sherri, I have a hard time with all the wars, violence and deployments. We live within minutes of a major base – some of these young men have been on 4 deployments – breaking up families (never mind the ones overseas) and leaving children scarred and acting out in school. there must be another way. If war worked, we’d have won them all and be moving on with our world domination or owning the oil. We must stop the inhumane treatment of humans on the planet, but going after violence with more violence doesn’t seem to be working… Having said all that, we must appreciate and welcome home all beings.
    Michelle Vandepas´s last blog post ..Masters of Heaven and Earth Movie Review – Tai Chi Chen Style

  2. David Rogers Says:

    There has been an ambivalence about welcoming home troops in the UK as well. As someone in his 50’s who has never had to wear uniform, let alone fight, I appreciate those who do so on my behalf. And a big point to me is supporting troops is not the same as supporting the war they had to fight.
    David Rogers´s last blog post ..Improve your self confidence in 15 minutes

  3. Debbie @ Happy Maker Says:

    Hi Sherri,

    Yes, our vets do deserve a parade. The problem nowdays is not the vets, but it is the government and how they are and do handle things.

    Are wars being fought to save freedom, or are they being fought for the other reasons that are wrong. We have many problems in this country that need our govements attention.

    We are so busy trying save other countries, when is that going to cost us our own country?

    But yes, I am very thankful for our men and women in uniform. Maybe they could be sent to guard our borders. That is a thought.
    Blessing to you and thank you for reminding us of the scarfice our military makes for us.
    Debbie

  4. Joel Says:

    I think America does a great job of supporting troops and veterans, at least in terms of saying thanks. When I have my hair short I’m often thanked for my service, as being in San Diego, they assume I’m a Marine. It is true though, if half of the money and effort spent on sports teams were redirected then support could be greater.
    Joel´s last blog post ..What Do Your Friends And Associates Say About You?

  5. Corinne Edwards Says:

    I’m with you, Sherri – and Rachel.

    We have parades for football teams?

    Just crazy thinking.

    I think it is important to personally greet every vet and thank them when we meet them.
    Corinne Edwards´s last blog post ..TO CATCH A THIEF ON THE DATING SITES – Sabrina Jackson

  6. Bruce Says:

    War is a business and service in the military is a choice. I was drafted but served a total of 25 years on active duty and in the reserves. I left in ’95 after my unit was activated for the first gulf war – Desert Storm under the first George Bush.

    I realized then that we were protecting oil rights and other industrial needs. We do not have the will or the support to really do what is needed. My question to veterans is why did you serve? Why did you reenlist when you knew what was happening? To civilians I ask, why did you not protest these wars? All in all they probably were not necessary. Iraq wasn’t. The economic melt-down wasn’t necessary either but the policies that led to it have not been altered. Derivatives are still being sold.

    If we want to stop these wars, then we need to use our armed forces for homeland security. It would have been cheaper to just fly over Iraq and drop millions of dollars and lots of weapons and ammo to the general population and let the chips fall. Iraq like Yugoslavia was a product of European and American ignorance at the end of WWI. We created countries from smaller countries with ethnic and religious differences that can only be ruled by dictators who are willing to be brutal. Iraq is not going to exist much longer. It will degenerate into civil war in short order. So what did those soldiers and thousands upon thousands of civilians die for?

    I don’t wish veterans any ill will. Many of them are going to need help all their lives. But, I think we would be better to spend the money and effort on support, counseling and education and dispense ;with the parades.
    Before we glorify military men and women for service, we need to ask ourselves why we let them be recruited and what is the military mission we want them to fulfill.
    Bruce´s last blog post ..Behavioral Interview Questions

  7. Beat Schindler Says:

    When soldiers are volunteers, or are made to serve through automatic draft – such as in Switzerland or Israel – expressions of gratitude and parades makes perfect sense. When soldiers are professionals, having made a professional choice, it’s an altogether different ball game, isn’t it? You state “turned out to be a preventive war which prevented nothing”. Just another way of saying, and pros know it, a politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country [Texas Guinan].
    Beat Schindler´s last blog post ..Dream A Little Dream For You

  8. Sherri Joubert Says:

    First, Bruce: thank you for your service. Joel: San Diego has a noticeable military presence compared to the general population. With a military cut, I’m sure you are thanked.

    In Baton Rouge, we have no local bases, just reserve centers. Our citizens are mostly National Guard on active duty. They don’t even have a permanent group of any type to be with or rely on when they are home. Around here, thanking a veteran is a big deal because they are mostly invisible.

    Wars we fight today are certainly not about our freedom, and we need to stop fighting them. The point of the post was saying thank you publicly to our veterans.

    Please see my next post for more discussion about your comments. It got too long to be a comment!

  9. Jennifer Says:

    I think most veterans would rather have a job and the benefits they earned than some silly parade. If you want to do something for a war vet, welcome them home, thank them for their sacrifices, and treat them with respect. Whatever you do, don’t treat them the way you did Vietnam veterans.
    Jennifer´s last blog post ..Better Jobs

  10. Cheryl from thatgirlisfunny Says:

    Hi Sherri,
    Whether people make a professional choice to serve has nothing to do with whether or not they should be publicly thanked. Of course, they should be admired and honored. They’ve chosen to do the work that the rest of us can’t or won’t do. A parade is a simple way to show respect. Welcome home parades are a good habit to start in my opinion.
    Cheryl from thatgirlisfunny´s last blog post ..Dropping In: A guide to visiting an MMA gym

  11. Sherri Joubert Says:

    Jennifer, the parades are to say thank you and to bring veterans to the forefront of the community’s mind. The people see how many of there own served, and the returned troops get to see that a lot of people support them. Once that connection is made, the community can think concretely about how to employ their soldiers. At the end of the St. Louis parade, the organizers and veterans’ groups had a big education, benefits and jobs fair for their local veterans. Seeing and acknowledging them reminds everyone that they are home now and we need to do our part to make sure they get everything they need, from good jobs to health care.

    Cheryl, I agree with you. I think it’s even more important to publicly thank an all-volunteer service. We must not forget that even though previous wars had a draft (WW II, Korea, Vietnam), there were still many who volunteered for service, my father among them. The Gulf war was the first one fought with an all volunteer military, and we threw them a parade. We’ve had parades to welcome the troops home throughout the 20th century. Even Vietnam vets got a ticker-tape parade, albeit 10 years late, which is shameful. We need both the big parade and the local parades to help get our vets back into civilian society. It doesn’t matter if they volunteered to serve or not. If no one volunteered, the draft would be reinstated when we need military force.

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