The Iraq War officially ended on December 31, 2011. Since the beginning of the war 8 years ago, over 4400 soldiers have died and over 32,000 have been wounded. Since the end of this war, St. Louis has been the only city to host a Welcome Our Heroes Home parade. IAVA, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, have started a petition (found here) that will be sent to the President and mayors nationwide pushing for parades to honor our soldiers.
Paul Rieckhoff recently wrote about this on his blog.
If we can afford two wars, we can afford two welcome home parades.
But this effort is about more than just a parade. It is what parades represent – a celebration, a commemoration, and an expression of gratitude by a community that has finally learned to separate the war from warriors. It is about creating a day to remember those we’ve lost, respect those who have served, and respond to their needs as returning veterans.
After a decade at war, with the burden of so many carried by so few, who deserves a parade more than the brave men and women who have deployed two, three, four times since 9/11?
I hope you guys will join me in signing this petition. If there is any group that deserves a parade, it is not a football team, it is our returning soldiers.