Now that the Allied War Veterans Council has reached across the folds of the tricolor to clasp the rainbow colors of Outvets, they will measure up to the symbolism of the Irish flag when they march together in the St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 19 (“Gay vets group gets invitation to parade,” Page A1, March 11).
The Irish flag in origin is a symbol of inclusion. “The white in the center signifies a lasting truce between the orange and the green,” Thomas Francis Meagher said in 1848 when he presented the flag to Ireland as a gift from the French, “and I trust that beneath its folds the hands of the Irish Protestant and the Irish Catholic may be clasped in generous and heroic brotherhood.”
The best of Boston will be honoring the generous and heroic brotherhood of veterans of all stripes and gender.
Allied Veterans Council should have been lauded, not reviled
Politicians, when they smell blood in the water and an opportunity to grandstand, can be vicious (“Gay vets group gets invitation to parade”).
State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry upbraided the South Boston veterans council that had voted to bar a veterans group from displaying the rainbow flag in this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade for having “ignorant beliefs.” City Councilor Tito Jackson, a mayoral candidate, piled on, accusing the Allied War Veterans Council of failing to treat “every person with the dignity and respect they deserve.” Not to be outdone, City Councilor Michael Flaherty dismissed them as not having “the interests of South Boston or our veterans in mind.”
The veterans council did not vote to stop any veteran, for any reason, from marching. It wanted only to protect the parade from being used to advance a political cause. This is why the council has prohibited Veterans for Peace from displaying its materials.
Instead of being reviled, the council should be thanked for selflessly administering the parade since 1947 and endeavoring to keep it free from political partisanship so that everyone could participate in and enjoy it.
Now can we get a rally behind Veterans for Peace?
Before the Allied War Veterans Council reversed its decision and extended an invitation to a gay veterans group to march in Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Governor Baker said, “If veterans’ groups aren’t allowed to march in that parade, I will probably do something else. I won’t march.” I hope that he and other politicians will show equal vigor defending the right of Veterans for Peace to also be included in the parade. In a time of unending war and bloated military budgets, we need their voice more than ever.
Let’s see parade route lined with pink triangles
Here’s a way to celebrate OUTVETS’ inclusion in the St. Patrick’s Day parade, and it’s a response that would have been just as fitting had the gay veterans group been barred from the parade: Decorate the route with pink triangles. Imagine what it would look like if much of the parade route were lined with pink triangles, both on people and taped to objects.
Here’s how you do it: Buy a bunch of pink paper. Cut it into triangles. Bring a stack of them, plus some tape, to the parade route. Get other people to do the same. Tape triangles (pointing downward) to available surfaces, such as telephone poles and lampposts. Pass out more to parade viewers to hold up as the parade passes by, and offer to tape the triangles to the fronts of their clothes and hats. Take pictures. Post them.
This would send a clear message to everyone, all over the world.
We did something similar when the Westboro Baptist Church visited my town some years ago, and it was moving and effective. Children who were in school at the time still remember those pink triangles fondly.