Veterans For Peace Still Excluded from Boston St. Pat's Parade
BOSTON – It was front-page news this weekend when a gay veterans group was given permission to march in the Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade – although another group of veterans still is prohibited from joining the walk.
With just days to go until Boston is bathed in green, Pat Scanlon and his national group Veterans For Peace still are on the outs, and won't be allowed to join the parade again this year.
"I'm a decorated Vietnam veteran, I was in military intelligence," said Scanlon, "and there's a little more of a twist to it; I grew up in an Irish-Catholic family, born on St. Patrick's Day – and not allowed to walk in this parade. Incredible."
In an emergency meeting on Friday, the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council decided to allow the gay veterans group OutVets to march next week. But Scanlon said they have made no change in their decision to block his group from participating.
Scanlon explained it is all about the name, and said his group is accustomed to rejection. He pointed out that the same South Boston veterans have held the same stand against Veterans For Peace for seven years.
"And the parade organizer said to me when I asked, 'Why do they refuse to accept us in the parade?' Quote: They did not want to have the word 'peace' associated with the word 'veteran.'"
Scanlon said parade organizers had little choice but to reconsider their decision on OutVets, because major politicians and sponsors were threatening to pull out from the parade. There are conflicting reports as to whether OutVets will accept the belated invitation, but Scanlon is sure he knows what Veterans For Peace would do.
"If it were the other way around, and we were in solidarity with them, I can tell you, we would not walk, because we will not leave anyone behind," he said. "Just like, we wouldn't leave the LGBT community behind."
To Scanlon, the worst part is that it is fellow veterans who are excluding his veterans group.