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Schumer: Honor Iraq, Afghanistan vets with NYC parade
New Yorkers should be able to welcome home troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan with a parade down Broadway, according to Sen. Charles Schumer, who is organizing a campaign to make it a reality.
The celebration would take place after all combat operations are over, Schumer said Sunday. And he said he hopes it could be as early as this Veterans Day.
"There's no grander way to just say 'thanks' to our veterans than a ticker-tape parade down the Canyon of Heroes," Schumer said, referring to the strip of Broadway from the Charging Bull near Wall Street to City Hall. "We ought to do this immediately and not delay.
"New York is the most appropriate place for the parade," he added.
Most logistics, including security protocols, still have to be sorted out. Schumer said he is calling on the Department of Defense to help coordinate the parade. All troops who served post 9/11 would be welcome, he added.
"My view is that any of them who wanted to march should get a place," he said. "Service is important. The greatest way you serve your country is by risking your life for it."
Mayor Bill de Blasio said he would support the idea.
"The brave men and women who have selflessly served our nation with courage and skill in Iraq and Afghanistan deserve a recognition for their sacrifice," said de Blasio in a statement.
In 2012, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he was against a similar parade, citing wishes from Pentagon officials who believed it was not the right time because troops were still fighting in Afghanistan. A request for comment from the Department of Defense was not returned in time for deadline Sunday evening.