Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Vets for Peace Booted from National Memorial Day Parade

Another group of veterans who
didn't participate in parades.

I have no idea how this seems to have flown under everyone's radar. So much for freedom of expression even if you did risk your fucking ass.

The organizers, of course, had reasons rationalizations for the denials.
There is one group of veterans that isn’t allowed to march in the national memorial parade in Washington on Monday.

That’s the Veterans for Peace, Delwin Anderson Memorial chapter, based in D.C. It’s named after a World War II vet who fought in Italy and then worked for the VA for many years designing programs for injured veterans.

The group had applied to join the National Memorial Day parade.

And initially, anyway, it was accepted.

But then, late last month, the group was told that it didn’t meet the criteria to participate.

The American Veterans Center, which runs the parade, told them “we cannot have elements in the parade that have any type of political message or wish to promote a point of view.”

But other groups, like the American Legion, will be participating in the parade.

Its creed is to defend “God and country” and to “foster and perpetuate a 100 percent Americanism” [they are joking here, right?].

And check out the list of major sponsors for the parade. They include: Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, the nation of Kuwait, the U.S. Army, and even the NRA.

“We’re striving to keep political statements out of the parade,” says Jordan Cross, communications director of the American Veterans Center. “Last year, we had two groups who supported the war, and we turned them down.”

No veterans should have been turned down whether for or against the war. This used to be a goddamn free country.

And it wasn't the only parade which barred this veteran's group
Controversy over the Wilton Memorial Day Parade Committee’s decision to deny the application of the group Veterans For Peace to march in Monday’s parade prompted action from town hall, but the gesture was too late.

First Selectman William Brennan, reached late Wednesday afternoon, said he planned to get the committee and the group together in the coming days to try to find common ground. On Thursday morning, Mr. Brennan and a representative of the group said the meeting was unable to take place in time to plan for Monday's parade. Mr. Brennan promised planning ahead for next year to include the group.

Mr. Brennan, who was on vacation last week, said he learned of the decision on Wednesday morning and spoke with Jeff Turner, parade committee chairman later that day.

“Right from the get-go, according to Jeff, he said... not only their veterans, but all veterans, we hope they will march,” said Mr. Brennan.

Mr. Brennan said when the application first came in for the group, the committee members were hesitant to approve the request because the group had filed under a different name than had previously been presented in an earlier phone call with Mr. Turner.

“What I really want to know... is this a group of veterans, or is it one veteran and 100 people,” he said. “I think we’ve got to clarify what the organization is.”

He said his hope was that through the meeting the organization and the committee could “work out an amicable and satisfactory solution.”

“If I’m going to err on anything, I’m going to err on the side of inclusion,” said Mr. Brennan.

Note: Headline links to source.



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