NOTE: In April 2009, I authored this column for AZRepublic.com. I once again asked in September of 2010, for what our returning veterans deserve- a ticker tape parade both for the victorious heroes and for the ones unlucky enough not to be returning home to their families, as well as the generals that led them to victory. It is now Memorial Day 2013 and still no triumph for our vets. I now respectfully ask again, as I did also on Memorial Day 2011, and every Memorial Day and Veterans Day since 2009:
In Roman times, returning generals and soldiers who were victorious were given the pleasure of a great triumph where citizens could spend a day recognizing their success- we have yet to do so for our men (and women) coming home from Iraq.
During Carter's Presidency our troops were slighted like this as well-- returning Vietnam Vets had been given no triumphal parade. Democrats typically privately view returning war veterans as something of shame, as baby killers (remember John Kerry?) and something to be locked away.
When Ronald Reagan took office, he immediately ordered a ticker tape parade for the hostages returning home (1981) and then made arrangements for the Vietnam Vets (which was delayed by Congress until 1985). In 1991, Bush the Elder gave one for the returning Gulf War veterans and Korean war veterans.
From that time until now, the only parades given have been for sports victories, and no Democrat since WWII has done so, although Truman gave one for Douglas MacArthur in 1951, along with the wounded veterans of the Korean War, but not the Korean War veterans themselves (as mentioned, this was corrected by Bush in 1991).
The interesting thing about Harry Truman is that he gave one for Eisenhower in June of 1945 after WWII, as well as Nimitz a few months later. Then he actually gave one for himself on 10/27/1945, before finally giving one for the WWII veterans in January of 1946.
Now that a substantial withdrawal of Iraq troops has begun and will continue for the next months to come, I think it's time we did the proper thing when veterans return from war . (ed note: the Iraq war now is officially over and our troops are fully withdrawn)
It's time for a ticker tape parade.
The last time we had one for something other than Super Bowl winners in New York, was in 1991 for the returning Iraq veterans of that period's conflict. You would think that now the 'War on Terrorism' is unofficially over (per the Feds), it would be only natural it was done. Iraq, while still troubled, is now at relative peace and a much freer state than when we found it under Saddam.
It's unlikely that the Obama administration will even consider something like that, though. It's very clear that the current administration would like to sweep the whole affair under the rug. Heaven forbid that such an event would suggest that maybe we did do the right thing over in Iraq. Such a possibility would be too dangerous to contemplate for them.
I'm not saying the conflict in Iraq was right or wrong. This is about giving the men and women of the current Iraq war, their due. They achieved almost all of the objectives that they were sent over to do, and did so from a statistically incredible position.
For instance, the American army in this conflict was the first foreign army to successfully cross both the Tigris and Euphrates and deliver victory since Alexander- just one example. They also managed to free a tyrant from the yoke of a brutal dictator and established democracy in an Islamic nation. They traversed more territory and killed more enemy combatants with fewer casualties than any other war in history.
Our fighting men deserve some credit for this monumental feat.
Give them the triumph they are due.