CIVIC CENTER — Plans for New York City to host the first welcome home parade for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan took a big step forward Monday, according to Sen. Charles Schumer’s office.
Schumer announced over the weekend his campaign to have the city host a Canyon of Heroes parade down Broadway between the Battery and City Hall, noting that the Department of Defense’s cooperation was critical to ensure the involvement of prominent military officials, joint military color guards, military bands, flyovers and more.
“Senator Schumer has spoken to officials at DOD, and while they are running the traps, he has gotten positive feedback and is very hopeful that we can get this done after combat operations in Afghanistan are complete,” Schumer spokeswoman Meredith Kelly said Monday in a statement.
Schumer initially approached the Defense Department about a parade In 2012, but the Pentagon said that it was too early for a New York City parade because the Afghanistan mission was not nearing completion, his office said.
With combat operations expected to be complete by the end of 2014, Schumer’s office said it was hopeful the Pentagon would now be willing to work with the city.
A Defense Department spokesman acknowledged Schumer's efforts, but declined to comment on the status of the request.
"We appreciate Sen. Schumer's support of our military service members. We have received a formal request to support this event, and are reviewing it to determine the level of support the Department of Defense is legally and logistically able to provide," Lt. Col. Tom Crosson said in a statement.
On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he “strongly supported” the plan for a parade.
“I think it’s important to have the parade to show the respect that we have for those that did so much for us,” de Blasio said Monday during an unrelated press conference in Brooklyn. “So whatever the logistics are, certainly this city knows how to do a parade. And we will do whatever it takes to make it work.”
A parade was also thrown for veterans of the Vietnam War, but didn't occur until 1985, a decade after military operations ended in that country.