Source: Luke Redmond/Flickr

Several local representatives to the City Council said yesterday that they support a proposal to throw a ticker-tape parade in Manhattan’s Canyon of Heroes for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The idea reemerged over the weekend, when U.S. Senator Charles Schumer stood with veterans to urge the Department of Defense to work with the city in planning the event, which would welcome home returning troops from the post-9/11 battlefronts. The proposal was first floated in 2012, but was opposed by the Pentagon.

“With the war in Afghanistan winding down, now is the time to keep with long-standing American tradition and kick off a campaign for the first New York City welcome home parade for troops that served in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Senator Schumer in a press release.

The Iraq war came to an official end on December 31, 2011. The combat mission in Afghanistan is expected to be complete by the end of this year. The Department of Defense will not condone a parade until combat operations are complete, but Schumer said the planning should begin now.

The Canyon of Heroes has long been the venue for the most iconic processions for returning veterans. Several parades were held during World War II, culminating with a massive procession for the troops in 1946, after the war ended. A parade was held honoring veterans of the Vietnam War in 1985, and in 1991 the city welcomed home Gulf War veterans.

Several Southern Brooklyn City Council representatives said they support bringing back the tradition, including Councilman Vincent Gentile who said he has previously called for honoring the veterans in such a way.

“If a sports team gets a parade, so should our veterans!” said Gentile. “Not only is it the right thing to do and it’s the least we can do for these brave men and women to honor the sacrifices they’ve made to protect our freedom abroad.”

Councilmembers Alan Maisel and Chaim Deutsch agreed.

“For all their dedication and sacrifice, it’s only fitting that we hold a ticker-tape parade in honor of the hard-fighting men and women of Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Deutsch. “Therefore, I’ll support the campaign to revive this time-honored tradition and give our veterans a grand, New York City welcome.”

Councilman Mark Treyger said he’s on-board with the idea, but urged his colleagues not to forget about providing the support these returning veterans will need beyond a celebration in the streets.

“I am in full support of the idea to honor our veterans with a parade down the Canyon of Heroes out of recognition of their incredible service to our nation. I applaud Senator Schumer for taking up this worthy campaign and I look forward to assisting his efforts,” said Treyger. “However, our obligation and responsibility to our returning servicemen and women extends far beyond a single event. We must also ensure as a city and nation that each returning solider receives assistance with employment, health care, counseling and anything else needed to help transition back into civilian life.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio said yesterday that he will “do whatever it takes” to give returning veterans a parade in the Canyon of Heros.

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  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

    Should have been done earlier. I suppose better late than never.

    • Supporter of Left Handed Rule

      Parade should not have been done earlier. Not until everyone is home. The Pentagon knew that years ago and said so. When both wars are over it is time, so Lianne, the planned parade is not late. By the way, did we have a parade in 1944? Of course not, it was after both VE and VJ days.

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

        WWII was not two separate wars. Germany declared war on us in support of Japan. D-Day was in 1944, VE Day was in June, 1945, VJ Day in August of that year.

        The Afghanistan action was not an continuation of our Iraq intervention. Therefore, those who came home by the time our commitment there was considered fulfilled deserved the sort of recognition we are discussing now. There is no reason to justify a wait of over 5 years.

        The Pentagon does not make these decisions, local governments do.

  • Al

    I agree with the idea of such parades for our military and, also, our police and fire fighters. I don’t think we should have such parades for over paid sports teams.

    • jerry

      Why have parades for our military, when they make less than the average person.

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  • Bikerchick

    It is nice to see the Canyon of Heroe’s being used for just that, heroe’s. This is so long in being overdue and I can think of no better people to throw ticker tape for instead of some overpaid, steroided out, whiny sports figure. I can’t wait for this to happen as it will pass right under my office window!

    • Supporter of Left handed Rule

      How can you say it is overdue when there are still troops in Afghanistan? Why the rush for a premature parade. The time for a parade that honors all the men and women who have been fighting for the past 11 years is when each of them is home. How would you feel if you were still in Kabul and NYC was holding a Parade without you? Makes no sense.