In Iowa, the Celebrate CB Parade is a, “traditional parade that brings the Downtown Council Bluffs area to life every May.” The event has, for years, included the Vietnam Veterans Chapter 798. Chapter members would march with a color guard in front of a vehicle towing a replica of a “tiger cage,” a torture device that was used on captured Americans (amongst others) in Vietnam during that war. As KETV NewsWatch 7 reports, the parade’s organizers told the Vietnam vets that they don’t want the tiger cage to be a part of the parade any longer.
Vietnam Veterans Chapter 798 President Ben Wiese told KETV, “…we marched in the parade with this thing for a number of years, and now all of a sudden we are informed we can't have the cage in the parade because it might be detrimental to children.” The group said if they can’t use the tiger cage, they won’t participate in the parade.
Celebrate Council Bluffs Board President Karen Purdue claims the request was made because of complaints from concerned residents. She wrote to the group, in an email:
“The complaints pushed our decision to ask for a modification. We do want you and the organization to be in the parade as those who fought for our freedom.”
In a statement emphasizing the request was not made because of any political views, Ms. Purdue wrote:
“Celebrate CB! has always remained 100% neutral on all issues related to race, religion, social, and political topics.”
Mr. Wiese claims the device, “teaches people something,” and that being told to ditch the tiger cage is, “kind of a slap in the face of veterans.” Council Bluffs City Councilman, Colonel Al Ringgenberg hopes a compromise will be reached, saying, “Our veterans and military population is obviously a very important part of our community…by excluding an important part of their experience, an important message about what sometimes conflict is about, then really, we’re not including everybody.”
More info: KETV