Carlsbad, New Mexico Veterans Day Celebration Bait and Switch

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Dedicated members of the VFW 8703 in front of 2016 parade float.

The Theme of the day, Generations of Veterans.    The VFW(Veterans of Foreign Wars), DAV(Disabled American Veterans) and American Legion was asked and we all voted to buy the Food for the Veterans Day celebration and the Sheriffs Posse agreed to do the cooking of the High Quality Lakesides Meats food we provided for the crowd.

So the day started with confusion, where are we supposed to be?  First to find out that the parades organizer had his “marching orders” as he put it and the veterans were in the back of the parade.  In Fact our VFW float was in the rear because they tried to break up our riders group from being a part of our display.  The Co-Grand Marshals then were escorted to the front of the parade to find out they wouldn’t be riding in the 65 Mustang convertible in the front but we were put in the back seat of a Dodge pickup.  Just as well that the crowd couldn’t see them as our names were not in the schedule of events being handed to the crowd a pamphlet similar to a funeral event list was handed to the crowd.  Riding down the parade route which seemed to take an odd turn as it headed out on the highway, then cut through a private neighborhood to end up at Carlsbad’s Veterans park which most of the crowd had no clue was there because of its Flood Plain location next to the river and cornered by the rivers flood overflow canal.  The route seemed odd because of the destination for the event, the entire parade lined with grandkids and kids holding up the names of dead soldiers on poster board.  Its important to note that the Veterans Park is owned by the city, but none of the displays were provided by the city.  Veterans groups donated the various displays over the past 5 years.

As a positive note to the event the Carlsbad Caveman High School Marching band looked and sounded very professional, the flag team was excellently in sync.  Very good job on their part in white and blue uniforms as a sailor I am well aware of how hard it is to look perfect in a completely white outfit.  Even after such a long march all the kids were still in time with their marching showing how much time and commitment they had given to their craft… again Kudos great highlight

So arriving at the event the Dodge Truck Salesman informed the guy guiding cars that she had the grand marshals and had cones moved to park the New Dodge truck up front for everyone to see.  They were then let out and then…. nothing.  A crowd gathers in the provided shaded seating only no veterans used the seating it was for the Alldaman Memorial.  It appears that Senator Udalls Staff representative had been trying for 5 years to get a memorial dedicated to a young man who died in Beirut in 1983 bombing.  There is not a single combat veteran who doesn’t jump to a point of defense of the fallen, but then we were not asked to nor were we informed of this events true intent.  Had we been asked at any point in time, our membership would of voted yes without any descent and bought and paid for the memorial ourselves.  It would of took less than a month not 5 years and we wouldn’t of hijacked a day of celebration with our family and friends in the park for a hour and half memorial service for the fallen marine.  In fact the event would have been moved to Memorial day, a day in Carlsbad, NM where the VFW put flags and acknowledge over 300 dead veterans from that City.  I hate to point out the ceremony of honor that the VFW does every year without fan-fair, but the Senator’s aid made it seemed like she fought an uphill battle for 5 years, nothing is further from the truth.  She just didn’t care enough what a veteran thought to ask their opinion or assistance, political prejudice. I think she had been asking the city to honor her friend from high school and no one informed them that the city veterans council didn’t pay for the current displays.

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1982 Carlsbad Football team and their spouses posing with their 2 awards during Veterans event.

It was a cold day standing next to the air off the river for 1 and half hours one politician after another came to the podium and gave a short review of what they read on Wikipedia.  I know all the memorials I have been to that stats and figures go over well with the crowd.  Especially when its repeated 7 times because each person wanted their moment to show they cared but had nothing on point to say.  The break in the repeated information came when Senator Udall’s aid gave praise to the 1982 High School Football team which happened to all be at the event in matching t-shirts.  Awards were given to some of the speakers for all they had done, nothing like a self pat on the back.  I am certain that each veteran standing in sun and cold wind all felt the same pride I did acknowledge the sacrifice of the 1982 football team vs those of us who spent years in combat, it was about time they got recognized.  The Marines Family couldn’t believe how many veterans showed up for the event.  Unaware they were coming to a BBQ celebration.  Finally the event broke up and all the football players and their families were treated to a meal provided by Veterans Organizations of Carlsbad.  While I am certain that the day was tough on the Alderman family, we set aside a day to share that grief with fellow veterans every year.  Veterans day is to celebrate those who are still with us improving the lives of all of who meet them.

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The other stones had been placed along river walk but have to be relocated due to flooding. Note Gulf war veterans got bricks for free from a third party donation of cash. Vietnam and other War Veterans had to buy their own bricks.

The winner of the veterans day parade float?  The youths soccer team had 3 hay bails and a banner the team held to take first prize awarding them $200.00.   I do want to add one more float mention out there though.  The PTSD float was particularly offensive, It was a torn up kitchen scene with a Jack Daniels Bottle glued to the table.

 

I do believe we will see some articles about how uncooperative we will be in the future when dealing with our local government officials requests.  Hopefully veterans can get the word Veteran back.  The word Veteran is not a marketing prop nor a way to grease a bill to graft money through to a campaign contributor.  They use the word veteran the same way PETA uses a beaten puppy.  I found one give me money.  With the VFW being around 119 years this event made apparent that we need to be more aggressive in allowing just anyone to “honor” us.

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