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Old 11-15-2003, 03:12 AM   #1
Chewbacca
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Yeah, whatever. It is a private parade so they don't have 'free-speech'. It still doesn't make it 'right' and I think offensiveness and the real disrespectful action was kicking vets out of a Veterans day parade.


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Anti-Iraq war veterans pulled from parade


By J. TAYLOR RUSHING
Capital Bureau Chief
TALLAHASSEE -- A group of 30 military veterans critical of the war in Iraq hoped to use Tuesday's Veterans Day parade to call attention to the increasingly deadly conflict but instead found themselves fighting for something much more fundamental.

Members of Veterans For Peace and Vietnam Veterans Against the War were yanked off a downtown Tallahassee street, directly in front of the Old Capitol, while marching in the holiday parade they had legitimately registered in.

As organizers allowed the parade to roll on -- including veterans from various wars, several high school marching bands and even a group of young women from the local Hooters restaurant -- the anti-war veterans were ordered onto sidewalks where they passed out leaflets and displayed a banner reading, "Honor the Warrior, Not the War."

"There's a war going on that's based on lies, just like Vietnam," said veteran Tom Baxter, an Army equipment maintenance officer in Vietnam for 16 months in 1967-69. "They were lying then, and they're lying now."

Parade chairman Ken Conroy, a Korean War veteran, said he ejected the anti-war veterans because they were offensive and because Tallahassee police also wanted them removed. He offered to refund their $10 registration fee and said he was not suppressing the group's free speech rights.

"They can have their free speech, just not in the parade," Conroy said. "They belong on the sidewalk."

The six-block parade circling downtown Tallahassee was sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3308.

Baxter said about 12 of the 30 anti-war members at the parade were walking in line when they were kicked out about 20 minutes into the hourlong event. He said the parade applications were filled out fully and correctly but must have gone unnoticed by organizers.

"They said we were offensive, but we heard no boos or anything," he said. "A few harsh looks from some of the active-duty guys, but that's about it."

Tallahassee police Sgt. David Folsom denied police played any role in the situation and said Tuesday was the first time he could recall anyone being excluded from the parade.

"We don't police the participants," Folsom said. "We don't have an opinion on who's in it, as long as they're not walking around naked or drinking in public. It's just not a police decision."

Parade spectators were surprised to hear the anti-war veterans were ejected.

"I don't think it's right," said LaToya Jackson, a JROTC member from Rickards High School. "They said they were supporting the troops, just not the war."

Marc and Khristina Munday of Tallahassee suggested the veterans have earned a special right to have their voices heard.

"They were in Vietnam, which may or may not have been a just war," Marc Munday said. "And quite a few people feel the way they do about the war in Iraq. They shouldn't have been kicked out of the parade. America is about free speech."

But others said the anti-war veterans simply didn't belong.

"We don't care where they are, as long as they're somewhere else," said Charles LeCroy, an Air Force personnel superintendent in Vietnam and second vice commander of American Legion Post 13 in Tallahassee. "It's disrespectful, that's what it is, and I just can't stomach or tolerate or conceive of it."

According to casualty records from the Associated Press, a total of 393 Americans have died in Iraq since March 20.

Col. Michael Spak, a retired colonel in the U.S. Army reserves and professor at the Chicago-Kent College of Law, noted the U.S. Supreme Court considers free speech less protected at privately sponsored events than those that are held publicly.

"The court has held they can't stop you from picketing, but they can stop you from marching in a private parade," Spak said. "There's a difference. If it's a city event, that's one thing, But if it's private, they have a right to bar a group."
[ 11-15-2003, 02:12 AM: Message edited by: Chewbacca ]
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Old 11-15-2003, 04:14 AM   #2
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Thats just wrong. They werent being offensive and in my opinion they werent being disrespectful. Being disrespectful would be interrupting a minute of silence. And they have a valid point; "Honor the Warrior, Not the War.". Honour the Warrior, now how is that disrespectful?
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Old 11-15-2003, 04:25 AM   #3
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What a stinking load of manure!
"They can have their free speech, just not in the parade." Ok. Correct Thinkers sit here in the front, while Wrong Thinkers stand outside in the cold rain.

Which Supreme Court decision gives private organizations the right to choose which groups may not participate in a public event, especially when the proper documents were filled out in advance, registered properly, and accepted? The People v. Common Sense?

These guys don't want to see happen to another generation of 20-year-olds what happened to their generation. That is not wrong. Personally, I don't think that Iraq will degenerate into another Vietnam, but I must admit the possibility exists.
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Old 11-16-2003, 07:14 PM   #4
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on the bright (ironic) side, they may have brought more attention to the groups and their causes by pulling them than if they had simply let the hour pass by without comment, and then plan to be more vigilant policing entrants next year.
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Old 11-16-2003, 11:55 PM   #5
Chewbacca
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Originally posted by sultan:
on the bright (ironic) side, they may have brought more attention to the groups and their causes by pulling them than if they had simply let the hour pass by without comment, and then plan to be more vigilant policing entrants next year.
Ha ha ha Sultan! [img]smile.gif[/img] Thanks for finding a silverlining on this dark cloud of a news article. Excellent perspective! [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
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