This week, a member of the Wisconsin Air National Guard was among 78 veterans of U.S. military operations in Iraq to dine with President and Mrs. Obama at the White House. The special event — on the scale of an official state dinner honoring visiting heads of state — expressed the spirit, dignity, respect and gratitude of the president and the American people.
This is a great honor and a highly appreciated gesture from the president. But even though a selection committee of senior enlisted representatives from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard and Reserves chose the veterans to represent the hundreds of thousands of men and women who served in Iraq, should more be done to recognize them on a national level?
There has been discussion — pro and con — about a national “New York-style tickertape parade” for troops who served in Iraq. At the moment, Pentagon officials appear to prefer to wait until U.S. troops are home from Afghanistan as well, as those troops contain many Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn veterans.
But can a single event sufficiently recognize and honor the service and sacrifice of those who deployed to Iraq? Should a national monument be considered? Do we actually need a national gesture of appreciation?
What do you think?