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NYC Mayor de Blasio expresses support for national veteran homecoming parade

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On Sunday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio expressed support for Senator Charles Schumer's calls for a welcome-home parade for Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.

"The brave men and women who have selflessly served our nation with courage and skill in Iraq and Afghanistan deserve a recognition for their sacrifice," de Blasio said in a statement. "I stand with Senator Schumer in his call for a parade to honor our veteran heroes, and New York City would be proud to host this important event."

On Sunday, Schumer and local veteran leaders launched a campaign to have the first welcome-home parade for returning Iraq and Afghanistan troops in the historic "Canyon of Heroes" route in Lower Manhattan. The first welcome-home parade would involve key military officials, joint military color guards, military bands and flyovers.

Given that the Iraq War ended in 2011 and that the combat mission in Afghanistan is scheduled to wind down by the end of this year, the Department of Defense should work with the city to start planning the event, Schumer said.

"In years past, we've honored our troops with a parade along the iconic 'Canyon of Heroes' route and those who served in these post-9/11 wars also deserve a hero's welcome — and New York is the only place to do that," Schumer said while standing along the "Canyon of Heroes" route.

"New York City is the best place — the only place — to host a national welcome home parade for the latest generation of veterans," said Vincent McGowan, founding president of the United War Veterans Council of New York.

Schumer has a history of fighting for the care and rights of veterans, according to his official website. At the end of the 111th Congress, he voted to repeal the legal footing of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and introduced legislation that reduces the threshold that veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars must meet to be treated for post-traumatic stress disorder.

He also introduced the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of 2010, which replaced the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 with a national maximum reimbursement rate of $17,500 for private institutions. He also played an instrumental role in the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs' decision to build a veterans' cemetery in Buffalo.

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