Elected officials and veterans groups are renewing their calls for a parade for Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, in light of Tuesday's planned Superbowl victory parade for the New York Giants.
Elected officials and veterans groups are renewing their calls for a parade for Iraq war veterans, in light of Tuesday's planned Super Bowl victory parade for the New York Giants.
Staten Island Council member Vincent Ignizio, who has been pushing for a veterans parade with Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Council member James Oddo, argued that while the Giants deserve a parade, "this also shines a spotlight on some misplaced priorities, I believe, in the city and federal administration, when we are celebrating the heroes of the gridiron, and telling the heroes of the battlefield and those that pay the ultimate sacrifice, 'No,' and they have to wait."
Speaking on Meet the Press on Sunday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said a parade "would be great, but the Pentagon has asked us to postpone any parade as long as we still have our soldiers in Iraq getting shot at, and sadly killed."
A spokesman for the Defense Department did not return calls seeking comment.
The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Association, which represents 200,000 veterans of the wars, started a petition, "If the Giants Deserve a Parade, Don't Iraq Vets?" that currently has nearly 18,000 supporters.
On the organization's website, IAVA Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff wrote that "Americans know the Afghanistan front still rages on, with the end of combat operations not expected until 2013. But that doesn’t mean our country can’t start welcoming home those who have already returned and pave the way for those still to come. It will also show our troops in Afghanistan now that they won’t be forgotten when that war ends too."
Last month, St. Louis held a parade for Iraq veterans that drew an estimate 100,000 attendees. Other cities now have parades in the works.