Super Bowl parade? What about a parade for Iraq vets?
It's a pretty simple question on the eve of Super Bowl XLVI weekend: "If the Giants and Patriots Deserve a Super Bowl Parade, Don't Iraq Vets?"
That's the query posed by a new online petition posted at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, which describes itself as the nation's first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Last check, the petition had almost 9,000 supporters and counting and their Facebook page championing the campaign has 333,271 "likes."
But expect those petition numbers to jump. After getting some high-profile support on both sides of the political aisle, it's doubled in the last 12 hours alone. MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" gave the cause a shout-out, and it was featured Friday morning on Forbes.com.
You might be wondering why this is even an issue -- why don't the vets just get a parade? Well, it's complicated.
New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg said a parade would be premature because there are still so many troops overseas. He also says that military leaders have made it clear that televised images of a U.S. victory parade could jeopardize the safety of troops still overseas.
But clearly, not everyone feels that way. The city of St. Louis hosted a "Welcome Home the Heroes" parade last month that was attended by a reported 100,000 people and had 20,000 participants. And IAVA clearly wants a parade.
Here's what the organization says in its petition directed at President Obama as well as the New York and Boston mayors, each of whom are poised to oversee a ticker-tape parade for the Super Bowl XLVI winner:
If the Giants and Patriots Deserve a Super Bowl Parade, Don't Iraq Vets?
Now is the time to remember those we've lost, respect those who've served, and respond to the issues they're facing at home.
Mr. President, New York Mayor Bloomberg, Boston Mayor Menino, Mayors and government officials across America:
Stand with IAVA Members nationwide to organize a single national day of action, coordinating the efforts of cities and towns nationwide to celebrate our nation's newest heroes and connect them with the resources they have earned.
Let's work together to make history.
Finally, if you are planning to watch a commercial this Super Bowl XLVI weekend, you might want to make it this one, above, for IAVA.
It's remarkable for many reasons, but mostly because of the footage of a soldier explaining in stunningly simple terms why so many veterans have trouble making the transition from combat duty to civilian life.
-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch