If soldiers returning from Iraq are looking forward to large homecoming parades, they may need to get ready to wave their own flags. That’s because, according to the Pentagon, they have not been asked to stage any large celebrations and have no plans to do so.
Some say this is all for the best, as a big military homecoming could look premature and inappropriate since we are still fighting a bloody war in Afghanistan. As Don Mrozek, a military history professor at Kansas State University explained,
“It’s going to be a bit awkward to be celebrating too much, given how much there is going on and how much there will be going on in Afghanistan.”
Calling for Celebration
Others disagree. New York City councilmen Republicans Vincent Ignizio and James Oddo are calling for a massive celebration down Broadway, as there was for returning Gulf War soldiers. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that he isn’t averse to the idea, but that,
“It’s a federal thing that we really don’t want to do without talking to Washington, and we’ll be doing that.”
Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. John Kirby said, diplomatically, that it is wonderful to see small communities around the country finding their own ways to celebrate the soldier homecomings.
Today, there are no remaining troops in Iraq, but there are currently about 91,000 U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.
Time will tell if the soldiers will be greeted with a large gathering, but it looks more likely that those who want to be involved need to go purchase a flag on their own and practice their waving in the front yard.