Byline: The Register-Guard
The Seattle suburb of Auburn put itself on the map by staging an annual Veterans Day parade. It began in 1965 and will be held again on Saturday. Billed as one of the largest Veterans Day parades west of the Mississippi River, the two-hour, milelong event is designated by the Veterans Day National Committee and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as a Regional Site for the annual holiday.
This week the parade is in the national spotlight for another reason. It's being sued by the American Civil Liberties Union and a Seattle anti-war veterans' group whose members have marched in the six previous parades but have been denied participation this year.
The ACLU and Veterans for Peace say the denial violates the group's right to free speech.
Auburn City Attorney Dan Heid told The Seattle Times the parade has gotten so large that not all those wanting to participate can do so, but he acknowledged that the VFP's message runs counter to the parade's goals. "This is an Auburn parade with a pro-military message," he said. "The Veterans for Peace have a different message."
VFP in a national non-profit group founded in 1985 in response to the nuclear arms race and U.S. military interventions in Central America. It has more than 100 chapters nationwide and includes veterans from World War II to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Among its missions is to abolish war as an instrument of national policy. …