Southern Brooklyn Councilmen Want Parade For Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans

Jumaane WIlliams

It’s no longer about the Super Bowl or World Series fanatics – New York City leaders want real American champions to parade down the Canyon of Heroes.

Southern Brooklyn representatives united in favor of a new resolution that urges the mayor to produce a ticker-tape parade for the veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, of District 45, introduced the resolution to give the war veterans a welcome home they rightfully deserve.

Williams’ resolution says the city is passing on an opportunity to uphold tradition and honor the bravest among us.

“Sports champions and near champions, celebrities, foreign dignitaries and veterans of wars and conflicts in World War I and II, Korea, Vietnam and the first Gulf War, have all marched down Broadway to a cheering crowd and skies full of ticker-tape, confetti, paper streams and the like,” the resolution states.

Councilmembers representing Sheepshead Bay and other Southern Brooklyn neighborhoods agree.

“I have co-sponsored Councilman Williams’ resolution, and am proud to have done so,” said Councilman Lew Fidler. “I have been calling upon the Mayor to have this parade for some time.”

Other’s felt this was long overdue. “I cannot think of a group that is more deserving of being honored with a parade down the Canyon of Heroes than the veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Councilman David G. Greenfield. “We owe our freedom to these brave men and women and they deserve to be recognized and thanked for their service.”

Councilman Vincent J. Gentile, representing Bay Ridge and parts of Bensonhurst, also agreed with Williams – stating priorities must be changed. Gentile stated sports teams are honored at large every year, but veterans do not receive the welcome home they deserve.

“Are [veterans] not the real giants here?” 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.”

Domenic M. Recchia Jr., the councilman for Coney Island and Gravesend, stated he supported Councilman William’s proposition “100 percent.”

With all of the positive feedback and support from local Council Members, Williams said it is now up to the mayor to make the right choice.

“A number of my colleagues, including Speaker Quinn, have expressed support for a ticker-tape parade in the past,” Williams told Sheepshead Bites. “I hope they all decide to rally behind this legislation so we can send a strong message of support to our veterans and that Mayor Bloomberg will put politics aside to do what’s right.”

The mayor is opposed to the parade, agreeing with Pentagon officials who say New York City should wait until all veterans have returned safely.

Councilman Michael Nelson acknowledged the timing issue but agreed with Williams’ resolution whole-heartedly.

“While the Pentagon may reason that it is premature to pay tribute to the veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, I firmly stand alongside Councilman Williams and many New Yorkers who feel otherwise,” said Nelson. “I certainly cannot think of a more fitting way to acknowledge our most worthy heroes, these brave veterans, than by celebrating our pride ‘New York City style’ – with a ticker-tape parade in their honor.”