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.):
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.