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Monday's Memorial Day parade will honor Iraq War veterans.

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D.C. parade to remember those lost in Iraq

Monday’s Memorial Day parade will honor Iraq War veterans.

When the last U.S. combat troops left Iraq in December 2011–hurried out to meet a deadline President Barack Obama set years earlier–debate raged about whether to throw a ticker-tape parade in New York or Washington, D.C. to welcome the returning heroes and mark the end of the almost nine years of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

While city officials were unopposed to such a move, the administration decided to forgo the celebration. Military officials didn’t give a reason for the lack of fanfare, but some reasoned the display would be seen as inappropriate while troops still fought and died in Afghanistan.

Nearly six months later, a few organizations have teamed up to make sure the troops who served in the Iraq War, and the ones who died, are remembered and honored this Memorial Day.

Organizers of the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C., plan to dedicate an emotional finale to veterans of the war and their families, said Tim Holbert, executive director of the American Veterans Center, the parade’s presenter.

The event will be one of the first in the nation’s capital to focus on these veterans. Holbert told Human Events that in spite of the ever-changing news cycle, it was important to make sure Iraq did not become another of America’s forgotten wars.

“You saw something similar in Vietnam,” he said. “Politically, people were ready to move on, but there were tremendous stories of valor and sacrifice out of that generation. I think most people want to make sure that nothing like (Vietnam) ever happens again.”

The parade, which begins Monday at 2 p.m. and will march down Constitution Avenue from 7th Street to 17th, will showcase a living timeline of American military history, from the Revolutionary War to the present. At the end, families of fallen Iraq veterans will march, followed by veterans of the war, and finally active-duty troops from each branch of the Armed Forces. 

The objective, said Holbert, was not an ostentatious celebration, but a simple moment of tribute.

“People really want to see this generation honored,” he said. “It’s not a welcome home parade; it’s a recognition of the sacrifice.”

The parade will also be carried live on Fox 5 and on station affiliates across the country.

In final count, the Iraq War toll was 4,486 U.S. troop fatalities and more than 32,000 wounded.

 

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Written By

Hope Hodge first covered military issues for the Daily News of Jacksonville, N.C., where her beat included the sprawling Marine Corps base, Camp Lejeune. During her two years at the paper, she received investigative reporting awards for exposing a former Marine who was using faked military awards to embezzle disability pay from the government and for breaking news about the popularity of the designer drug Spice in the ranks. Her work has also appeared in The American Spectator, New York Sun, WORLD Magazine, and The Washington Post. Hodge was born near Boston, Mass., where she grew up as a lover of Revolutionary War history and fall foliage. She also discovered a love of politics and policy as a grassroots volunteer and activist on Beacon Hill. She graduated in 2009 with a degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from The King's College in New York City, where she served as editor-in-chief of her school newspaper and worked as a teaching assistant when not freelancing or using student discounts to see Broadway shows. Hope‚??s email is HHodge@eaglepub.com

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