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This might be the most anti-veteran thing you are going to read about all week.

 Paul Cox, Vietnam veteran with five bronze stars was denied the opportunity to march in this year's Phoenix Veterans Day Parade allegedly because of his desire to end the war, bring the troops home and continuous dedication to talk about and end the suicide epidemic among our returning veterans.

Cox is a member of Veterans for Peace, a group that was denied a spot at the Phoenix Veterans Day parade. According to Veterans for Peace website, Veterans for Peace activities include projects to make reparations to victims of war in Iraq and Vietnam; counseling and mentoring veterans affected by PTSD, homelessness and sexual trauma; and building cultures of peace through Earth Summits, Peace Poetry Contests and other celebrations, street actions and community projects.

In previous years the parade was organized by Veterans and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans for Peace marched with much support and without much problems. Like other groups at the parade they were applaud when marched by, thanked and was shown the upmost respect by parade spectators.  

According to the Arizona Republic:

"They have carried flag-draped coffins in honor of fallen comrades. They speak out on issues like suicide among veterans.

Not everyone likes that."

That everyone is Katherine Brooks, a civilian that heads the non-profit Honoring Arizona Veterans (HAV). Earlier this year the Department of Veterans Affairs pulled out of sponsorship and HAV took over the parade planning. Brooks' decision to ban Veterans for Peace from this year's parade citing reasoning of improper paperwork submission. Most Phoenix-area Veterans that I spoken to disagree.
"Veterans for Peace talks about real issues affecting veterans such as suicide and sexual trauma. There are more than 22 suicides each day committed in the Veteran community. When they go out and speak about these problems they are saving the lives of Veterans. To me it clearly looks like Katherine Brooks is using her anti-peace stance to exclude a group of veterans that has done so much in the community." said a Phoenix-veteran.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton is on the side of Phoenix Veterans and thinks Veterans for Peace should participate.

His office sent this statement from the mayor:

“The Phoenix Veterans Day Parade is possible due to the efforts of Honoring Arizona’s Veterans, a private nonprofit organization, and I am honored that they have asked me to serve as one of this year’s parade Grand Marshals. As the sponsor, HAV decides how the parade will be run, just like every other private organization that presents parades in our city. Were it up to me, I would have included the Veterans for Peace among the parade entries, and I was hopeful that that would happen. But that is neither my nor the City’s decision to make.”
Brooks decision to ban Honorable Veterans has many Veterans feeling betrayed.  The military teaches you to not leave anyone behind, a sense of brotherhood so to speak and Valley Veterans are using this military value to show support for their fellow brothers and sisters.

Hundreds of Phoenix-area Veterans and supporters with various political views are expected to boycott the Phoenix Parade unless all Honorable Veterans are included.

However, Brooks won't budge. She told the Az Republic. "The First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees that as a private entity, we have the right to determine who is going to be a part of our parade”

This Veterans Day in Phoenix Cox, a five times Bronze star recipient would not be seen marching among the circus clowns, girl scouts troops and JROTC. A group of Honorable combat Veterans that in the past marched with tons of support has been censored and given the boot.

Originally posted to KelliM on Fri Nov 08, 2013 at 09:52 AM PST.

Also republished by Phoenix Kossacks.

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