The Annual Veterans Parade at the Iowa State Fair turned controversial Monday when a veterans group made up of Democrats was barred from the event.
Members of the Iowa Democratic Veterans Caucus say they marched in the parade in 2008 and 2015 and were issued credentials for this year, but the Iowa State Fair Veterans Committee which organizes the parade reversed that recently.
Committee member Daniel Gannon says he doesn’t recall the group’s 2008 appearance and he says they “slipped” into the parade in 2015.
“The parade can’t be about politics. It’s about supporting our veterans,” Gannon saus. “I don’t care if you’re a Democrat, a Republican or an Independent. Everybody should support our veterans.”
The Iowa State Fair Veterans Committee that organies the annual parade down the Iowa State Fair’s grand concourse is not affiliated with either the fair or state government. Governor Kim Reynolds attended the parade and stands by the committee’s decision.
“It’s never been partisan. It never should be partisan,” Reynolds says. “It should be about saluting our veterans and that’s what I saw taking place.”
Democrats say if the parade is to be non-partisan, then the anti-war group called Veterans for Peace and Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate, who is not a veteran, should not have been allowed to participate in yesterday’s parade.
(Reporting by Iowa Public Radio’s Joyce Russell/Photo courtesy of the Iowa State Fair.)