To commemorate the ends of major wars, the U.S. generally throws a parade in New York City for the veterans who have come home. The parades offer Americans a way to celebrate the end of a trying time, offer thanks to soldiers, and renew our promise to take care of the soldiers who return needing benefits, medical care, and possibly the VA Aid & Attendance Non Service Connected Disability Pension.
Rachel Maddow of MSNBC has been leading a crusade to get a parade for Iraq war veterans in New York. She notes that New York has hosted parades for veterans going back to the Spanish-American War veterans in 1899. New York hosted parades for veterans of World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Gulf War. The veterans of the Vietnam War did not receive a parade until several years later. Now that the formal end of the Iraq War is nearly a year old, she is calling for a parade for our newest returned veterans.
Ms. Maddow is not alone. Kansas City, Missouri led the way hosting its own parade, followed by several cities around the country, most recently Minnesota’s twin cities, Minneapolis-St. Paul. Recently Chicago announced that it would host a parade this December, commemorating the one year anniversary of the end of the war. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Pentagon have stated that it is premature to host a parade before all combat troops from Afghanistan have returned. The Pentagon has also noted that the perception of a “victory parade” could endanger troops who are still deployed. Senator John Kerry has weighed in stating that he thinks a parade should be held in New York or Washington D.C. Two City Councilmen from Staten Island have been working since December to convince the Mayor that now is the time for an Iraq War ticker tape parade.
Even if there were legitimate reasons for not having a parade in New York, it seems that at this point the various parades held across the nation should have negated any fear of endangering deployed troops, and there can always be another one at the end of the Afghanistan War. However, it is not so much that coming home should mean a parade, as much as a parade will remind us how many soldiers have come home and the well-documented backlog of VA benefits claims.
Southern California has the most veterans of any other region in the country; new veterans and older veterans alike filter through a system clogged with forms, bureaucracy, and people waiting for care. Planning ahead to qualify for benefits, especially need-based benefits like Aid & Attendance, will help ensure that your claim process will go as smoothly as possible. Additionally, working with an experienced VA accredited attorney to handle your claim and represent your interests will ensure that no time or effort is wasted on inadequate paperwork or missing documents.
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