- Associated Press - Thursday, May 22, 2014

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Parade officials have apologized to local Vietnam War veterans for telling them they couldn’t use their “tiger cage” float in Saturday’s Celebrate Council Bluffs parade.

The Daily Nonpareil reports (https://bit.ly/1nh4HE4 ) several groups pulled out of Saturday’s parade in protest of the officials’ decision to bar the veterans group’s float. The decision also caused a slew of angry emails, phone calls and voicemails from citizens to members of the Celebrate CB board and subcommittees.

Board chairwoman Carol Horner said the board never meant to exclude veterans from the event. The board had gotten complaints about the group’s depiction of a soldier in a “tiger cage” cell from the Vietnam War after last year’s parade but she said parade organizers “made a big mistake” by not realizing the importance of the imagery behind the float.

“Where we blew it and blew it big was not taking the full image into account,” she said. “We didn’t know how iconic the tiger cage was. I’m the daughter of a Vietnam vet, and I didn’t know it was so iconic.”

Ben Wiese, president of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 798, said the tiger cage float is used to depict Vietnam War history, not scare anyone. He said he’s pleased with the board’s apology and has accepted it.

Wiese also said it wasn’t the group’s intention to spark protest within the community.

Horner said she hopes the situation proves to be a learning experience.

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Information from: The Daily Nonpareil, https://www.nonpareilonline.com


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