A U.S. Marines veteran and member of the Chicago City Council has proposed that the city throw a ticker-tape parade to celebrate the Navy SEAL team that killed Osama bin Laden.
Alderman James Balcer served in the Vietnam War, and has been a staunch supporter of veterans' issues in the Council. In a news release, he explained why the city ought to throw the parade:
"The bloodshed linked to bin Laden is almost unfathomable. He was in fact the most destructive and despicable terrorist of the 21st century. Therefore, it is fitting that our City honor not only the Navy SEALs, but also all of our men and women who protect us every day in the global war against terror."
Fellow aldermen George Cardenas, Edward M. Burke, Ariel Reboyras and Ray Suarez joined the call for the parade, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Twenty-five years ago, Chicago became the first city in the nation to hold a welcome-home parade for Vietnam War veterans. The 1986 event, though it was many years after the end of the war, was described as a cathartic experience by former soldiers who were largely uncelebrated on their return to the United States, as well as by former protesters and others who saw it as a moment to heal the rifts of that time.
Alderman Burke has tasked Balcer to look into the most suitable way to honor the SEALs. WLS suspects that a ticker-tape parade might not be in the cards: "The now famous and secretive Navy SEAL team that killed Osama bin Laden will most likely be honored in the only way a covert group like them can be: in a private room with nobody but their commanders," it writes. "Whether or not [a parade] is even feasible remains a question given the military’s tradition of keeping the identities of the team a secret."
The aldermen made one proposal that won't have the secrecy problem: awarding the local Medal of Merit to CIA Director Leon Panetta and to Defense Secretary Robert Gates for their roles in the action.