The News & Observer & Veterans for Peace – 2008-11-10 20:06:27
NC Veterans Parade Excludes Peace Group
Martha Quillin / The News & Observer
RALEIGH (November 7, 2008) — The local chapter of the anti-war group Veterans for Peace will not be allowed to march in the N.C. Veterans Day Parade in downtown Raleigh on Saturday.
Bill Dixon, who oversees the parade for the Wake County Council of Veterans Organizations Inc., said he had denied a request by the group to march in the parade while carrying a Veterans for Peace flag.
“That’s a political statement,” he said of the flag. “This is not the venue for political statements. This is a parade honoring current, past and future veterans.
“The parade is not about glorifying war, or about opposing war. It has nothing to do with war. It’s about honoring the veterans.”
Wally Myers of N.C. Triangle Veterans for Peace complained in an e-mail to The News & Observer about the group’s exclusion from the parade. The event begins at 9:15 a.m. and will be followed by a formal ceremony at 11 a.m. at the state Capitol.
“So our veterans group is excluded from the Veterans Day Parade because we stand for peace,” Myers wrote. “Peace is political; but peace is a moral issue too. A lot of moral issues are political. Are we excluded from expressing our beliefs on moral issues because they are political?”
Dixon said members of the group disrupted last year’s parade by breaking into the procession and trying to interrupt it. He said police handled the incident.
Dixon said the group would be welcome to march in the parade if they would not carry their flag or display any other political banner or slogan.
Meanwhile, Dixon said, dozens of other groups will be marching in the 27th annual parade, including VFW chapters, Boy Scout troops, Gold Star and Blue Star mothers groups, American Legion posts, Elks clubs and a military vehicle preservation club. Some World War II veterans will be riding in classic cars.
The parade will start at the Davie Street intersection of Fayetteville Street, go north on Fayetteville Street to the Capitol, round the building and end at the corner of Edenton and Wilmington streets.
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