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  Friday, February 27, 2015
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xtra xtra!
Rooney Real Estate
Commonwealth Cooperative Bank
March 6, 2014

Dear Ms. Eagan:              

As veterans we wish to convey in the strongest possible terms out utter disappointment with the unwarranted attack on veteran parade organizers written by you in the March 4, 2014 edition of your paper.              

In your column, "It's time to scrap the St. Patrick's Day Parade," you wrote among other objectionable things:   Not a single politician should march. Nobody should, actually, save for maybe John “Wacko” Hurley and his pathetic band of Allied War Veterans, whose parade glorifies warfare at a time when veterans and most of America — after 11 years of bloodshed — want nothing more than peace.                        

"Pathetic band of Allied War Veterans"? Really? "Whose parade glorifies war"? Really?              

This parade has been run by the veterans for over fifty years, and not until very recently has anyone ever thought of the organizers as pathetic, or bigots, nor any other demeaning or derogatory title. You should be ashamed of yourself.              

For your edification these "pathetic" old soldiers are World War II, Korean, Vietnam, Gulf, Afghanistan, Iraq veterans who served their country with honor, many of whom saw blood spilled and horribly disfigured young bodies  returned to their families in body bags for the rights you used to trash them. Many know the horrors of war personally and we sincerely doubt a single one of them sees their parade as a tribute to the glories of war.              

Ms. Eagan every veteran of conscience is a veteran for peace, and they don't need any other agenda proclaiming it or advancing other causes wrapped in their noble flag.              

Veterans fully recognize that the right of free speech is one of our most highly cherished freedoms, as is the right to refrain from engaging in speech one disagrees with -- or just plain remaining silent.              

For fifty plus years the Allied War Veterans' Council of South Boston has run a parade celebrating both St. Patrick's Day and Evacuation Day, and for fifty plus years the parade has been relatively free of agendas that tended to divide people. This has not been by accident, but has been a concerted effort by parade organizers to make the day a happy occasion for the million plus onlookers (many of whom are children) as well as participants.  Only recently has an obnoxious advocacy group with an agenda tried to poison the event, supported by others who champion chanter assassination, name-calling and intimidation aimed at sponsors and supporters. Shame on them.              

It is these professional agitators who are truly worthy of condemnation for they are the long knives and glass breakers that hearken back to the days of Nazi Germany, 1934. They may cloak themselves in harmless organizational titles, but in truth they are the "Hummingbirds" Hitler used so effectively to silence his opponents as well. It is their tactics and methods of intimidation and character assassination that should be condemned and better understood for what they are.              

As for your callous and offensive  remarks, You owe all veterans a major apology. We would accept it gratefully, as we are sure most other veterans and their families would as well.              

  Paul Walkowski, Vietnam Veteran, U.S.M.C.   Chester Darling, Korean War Veteran and Attorney for John J. "Wacko" Hurley and the   South Boston Allied War Veterans' Council.

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