Houston to Hold Parade for Iraq War Vets

Houston will host a special parade on April 7 for veterans of the Iraq War. The downtown parade will wind its way to Minute Maid Park, where veterans and their close relatives will be able to attend a baseball game for free.

There’s been some national controversy recently about whether cities should have parades for Iraq veterans when the conflict is still going on in Afghanistan.

St. Louis was one major city that went ahead with a parade, however, and Mayor Annise Parker says Houston should follow suit.

“Sometime what’s called for is a little extra special acknowledgement.”

The Astros will co-sponsor the parade, and then provide about a thousand free tickets for vets and their relatives, for that night’s game against the Colorado Rockies.

Parker says this parade may be more somber than others, but all Houstonians should come out and show their appreciation.

“This isn’t the kind of parade where it’s all floats and marching bands. But there will be martial music and there will be genuine American heroes to honor and salute as they walk by.”

Former Astros manager Larry Dierker says a parade is the right idea.

“Back in the Vietnam era when guys came back, they were reviled for fighting a war that they didn’t even sign up for.”

Dierker says things have improved and Houston should be a part of that.

“I’ve been in airports where troops have gotten off planes and walked down the concourse and people stand back to the walls and they get a round of applause. I think that’s the right way.”

Mayor Parker says she wants to honor Afghanistan veterans too someday, at the end of that conflict. The parade and game will take place April 7.

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