The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) organization has been petitioning for a nationally recognized parade to honor returning veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, but their efforts will have to wait longer.
According to officials at the Pentagon and the Department of Defense, there’s full support for such a celebration, but right now is not an appropriate time. With troop withdrawals still a long way to go, and deployments still actively scheduled, the Pentagon wishes to wait until all efforts in the war zones are completed and the troops have returned home.
In the meantime, the White House will be hosting a special dinner honoring the Iraq veterans by inviting members of every military branch, rank, and state to represent their respective backgrounds. While the IAVA appreciates the gesture, they believe that this effort only honors a select few service members and does nothing to foster connections between civilians and veterans.
Small scale efforts to honor returning Iraq veterans have been seen across the country with a notable effort having recently taken place in St. Louis. A couple friends organized the event through Facebook, which gathered nearly 1,000 veterans and tens of thousands of civilian supporters.
The Pentagon officials recognized the efforts of the St. Louis group and praised small community events like these, stating that, “they’re the right size and scope for what military leaders feel comfortable with now.” As for a large-scale parade, officials are still holding off on making plans until all troops return home.
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