The state of North Dakota is home to two Air Force Bases and over 7,300 active duty military personal and over 16,000 military civilian employees. According to the Census Bureau, 7.5% of the North Dakota population is a veteran. We are a state with a deep rooted history of military service. As we move further away from the end of the Iraq war, and look forward to the end of the war in Afghanistan, it is time that our state holds a ticker tape-style parade and welcome home celebration for Iraq and Afghanistan war Veterans.
This issue is very personal to me. My father served our country for over 20 years, including a couple tours in Vietnam. On the way home from his second tour, he had to change into civilian clothing before deplaning in California, in order to avoid protesters. This behavior by the anti-war crowd at that time was appalling, and kept me from ever becoming involved in any anti-war activities during the Bush years.
However, my father, like many Vietnam era Vets never had the chance to be welcomed home as heroes who had served their country honorably. That has had a long lasting negative effect on that generation. We can never do that again.
If you pay attention to the news, it may be easy to forget that the US war in Iraq is over. Nobody is happy with the performance of Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and John McCain is ready to send troops back into the country to stop the advances of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISSA).This talk of a new war in Iraq can raise a lot of problem for the millions of Americans who served our country in the war. The talk of renewed war can intensify the effects of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) for those who are attempting to live with the disorder.
Holding a good old fashion ticker tape parade welcoming our entire military hero’s home can help to provide closure for those who served our country. It does not matter if you were a huge Bush supporter, who felt the war was justified and well executed, or the biggest anti-war advocate who believes Bush is a war criminal, we can and should all agree that our military served us honorably.
Those of us on the left and you on the right can disagree on a lot of things; however this should not be one of them. North Dakota can and should make this happen.