To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Persian Gulf War ceasefire on Feb. 28, Marine veteran Scott Stump represented the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association at an official memorial event…in Canada.
The reason Stump and other U.S. veterans didn’t celebrate the Gulf War ceasefire on American soil was because, well, there was nothing going on here. The Department of Defense didn’t host a single event marking the anniversary.
“When we got the invitation to Canada’s official, government-sanctioned 25th anniversary event, the thing hit us with a ton of bricks,” Stump told the Washington Post. “You have a country that had 4,000 troops on the ground inviting an American like me to attend their commemoration, yet our country — which deployed over 600,000 troops — is not doing anything.”
Stump was deployed to Saudi Arabia in December 1990, and he served during the entire duration of Operation Desert Storm. But combat lasted less than two months, and the United States only suffered 146 casualties. As a result, it had become a ‘footnote in history’ dwarfed by Operation Iraqi Freedom.
When Stump realized that his children weren’t being taught about Operation Desert Storm in school, he founded the memorial association to fund a memorial for veterans of the conflict and preserve their history. That Stump’s organization was invited to a memorial event in Canada speaks volumes of how the conflict is viewed by the American military.
Stump isn’t the only veteran calling foul. Fred Wellman, who served during Operation Iraqi Freedom and is on the memorial association’s board, wrote to the Pentagon to address his complaints.
“Up until recently I dismissed the constant complaining by Gulf War veterans that they have been forgotten by the military but frankly at this point it’s hard to dismiss their complaints,” wrote Wellman. “We are ignoring one of the greatest military victories in world history that was led by the U.S. because its ‘just another anniversary’? Nothing at Arlington? Nothing at the Pentagon? This can’t seriously be the plan still is it?”