Remembering Yellow-Ribboned Trees: Where’s The Parade?
This week, President Obama announced that the remaining U.S. military troops in Iraq would be home by the end of next week. Where is the welcome home parade? Have we forgotten the streets across the country that filled with chants of “Bring The Troops Home” by protesters against the prolonged war in Iraq, the questionable WMD evidence that fueled the onset of the war, and Abu Ghraib?
Have we forgotten the rows of flag-draped caskets of fallen U.S. soldiers, rows of helmets hanging over rifle barrels, and rows of trees wrapped in yellow ribbons? My sister served in Desert Storm and my family was so extraordinarily joyful when she returned home to us, especially her four-month-old daughter and toddler son. By President Obama keeping his promise to end the war in Iraq, he has brought the same joy to every soldier’s family.
Is our collective memory so overwhelmed by issues in the current sociopolitical landscape that it clouds those from the not-so-distant past, resulting in a failure to recognize the significance of this moment? Such national amnesia over the sacrifice and suffering of good soldiers is reminiscent of the Vietnam syndrome—and leaves more than a few good men and women in an ever precarious position as they try to transition back into everyday life. More Vietnam veterans committed suicide after the war than died in it, because of the cold, ambiguous reception of their return. Whether there is a national parade or not, Iraqi veterans should not only be embraced by their families—they should be welcomed home by everyone regardless of one’s perspective on the Iraqi war itself and war in general.
Tie a yellow ribbon around a tree. The troops are coming home.
ADVOCACY for WOMEN'S ACTIVISM, RIGHTS and EMPOWERMENT. I am a journalist, poet, and photographer, creatively tumblin' thru notes & news, hues & harmonies