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Chicago aldermen want ticker tape parade for Navy SEALs who killed bin Laden

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



The city that was the first in the nation to hold a cathartic welcome home parade for Vietnam War veterans would do the same for the elite Navy SEALs team that took out Osama bin Laden under a plan floated Wednesday by five influential aldermen.

Ald. James Balcer (11th), the Vietnam War veteran who has championed veterans issues in the City Council, is pushing for the ticker-tape parade to honor the military in general and the Navy SEALs Team Six credited with executing bin Laden in particular.

Balcer was joined by Aldermen George Cardenas (12th); Edward M. Burke (14th); Ariel Reboyras (30th), and Ray Suarez (31st).

“The bloodshed linked to bin Laden is almost unfathomable,” Balcer said in a press release.

“He was . . . the most destructive and despicable terrorist of the 21st Century. Therefore, it is fitting that our city honor — not only the Navy SEALs, but also all of our men and women who protect us every day in the global war against terrorism.”

Their “order” introduced Wednesday would mandate that the newly merged Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events “devise an appropriate plan to hold a ticker tape parade in the city in honor of the U.S. military, specifically Navy SEAL Team Six.”

That’s the elite unit that pulled off the daring raid that ended a decadelong manhunt and executed the mastermind of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and aboard a hijacked plane that crashed in Shanksville, Pa.

The legislation also calls for Chicago to present the Medal of Merit, a local honor, to CIA Director Leon Panetta and to Defense Secretary Robert Gates on behalf of the Navy SEALs.

Two dozen members of that elite unit killed bin Laden inside a walled compound where he had been hiding 35 miles outside the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.

The parade that finally gave Vietnam War veterans the welcome home they deserved — was championed by Ald. Bernard Stone (50th).

Stone, who has called that gut-wrenching parade his proudest achievement, attended his last City Council meeting on Wednesday.

He was defeated in the April 5 runoff by Debra Silverstein.



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