Commemorating Five Years in Iraq



On Saturday, the 22nd of March, Delaware Pacem in Terris organized a pair of vigils to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq.  The theme of the events was remembrance of the fallen.



As the group began to gather in the parking lot of the shopping center one very notable car was seen.



The owner was one of our group.

Organizing along the highway (Concord Pike, Route 202 North) took a bit of time as the banner with figurines representing all of the fallen was rolled out.





Motorists traveling north on the highway were greeted by with my wife on point

or

with our friend from Barcelona Spain in the lead.  (That is me on the right hand side of the picture holding the banner in my customary spot with Ed on the other end in what has become his usual place.)

Though the occasion was somber enough, we did respond to the honking horns by returning a wave.

While most in attendance helped hold the banner, some added supporters were standing or sitting along the sidewalk.



The Wilmington protest lasted from 11AM to noon.  The vigil was gathered again in Dover at the North Gate of the Dover Air Force Base at 2PM for another hour.  Once again we gathered in a nearby parking lot before walking around the corner for the vigil.



This time the banner reached around a corner of the intersection directly opposite the gate.



The images on the banner in red just behind the Mourn the Dead sign represent the women who have died in Iraq.



How sad it was to leave space to fill in as more women may die in time.

The overwhelming feeling of everyone involved was one of sadness as we knew each figure on the banner represents one life lost, one family never to see their loved one again, and a group of personal friends left behind forever as all were touched by the tragedy.  

The point was driven home to each of us today.



How many more must die?  How much longer can we the people of this nation support the occupation?  

Peace.

Sad Conversations With Bushies

copyright © 2007 Possum Ponders.  Sedalia Tales

One recent morning as twelve of us stood on the sidewalk for our regular Saturday morning vigil, a young (thirty-something) man approached.  He smiled and seemed friendly enough with his greeting.  He said he’d seen us there the week before and just wished to see what we were about.  Our signs made very clear just what we were about.  We mourn for those who have died and protest the war in an effort to end the ongoing succession of deaths.  Signs always include the number of Americans killed in Iraq to date and today included at least one with the “T” word.  We are pretty outspoken overall and even at that do practice measured restraint in our messages.  More beyond the fold.

Recognizing our hats (mine says Vietnam Veteran) and the uniform shirt of another man, he stumbled over the words “so you are veterans.”  Not all of us are, but two of us right in front of him just happened to be.  Then the one way conversation began with “What do you think we should do about terrorists and what about the Buddhist terrorists?”  (his words, not mine).  No amount of explanation of either fact or history was to deter the young man.  He continued to be polite but misinformed through a several minute conversation.  One member of the group gave him a DVD to review and we all invited him back next week to continue the interaction.

Hard as we tried, none of the three of were able to penetrate the right-wing slogan spouting ideas the man posited.  We simply could find no common ground from which to begin a real conversation.  His ideas were set in bedrock and we had no drill strong enough to penetrate the barrier.

Today’s episode reminded me of last weekend spent with my creationist, fundamentalist Christian, right-winger, war supporting son.  He is an adult who lives with a wife in North Carolina.  We spent a weekend as father and son in Virginia Beach.  Our goal was to find some of the connections we had when he was younger.  Just as we have so many times, we were forced at last to keep the conversation to light subjects for complete lack of common ground.  Saturday was spent hanging out in the hotel room while he watched TV and I followed a childhood story diary of mine on Kos.  Our only meaningful conversation had to do with creationism.  Even there we had no middle ground.  At least he agreed to read a book on the subject.  I mailed the book early this week.  Will be interesting to see if he finds any place for the book in his life.

How do we approach these closed minds.  I am at a breaking point in frustration.  So many are so misled and continue to ignore facts in the face of the fiction being put out from the administration.  Finding common ground is sometimes outside my reach even though I pride myself on being a somewhat sane and very rational human being.  Whatever are we to do indeed?

Crossposted from Daily Kos.

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copyright © 2007 Possum Tales.  Sedalia Tales

The actual number is higher in total days, but our local peace group has now stood vigil on more than 200 Friday nights.  And we won’t even count the Saturday mornings and other special days when we marched or stood vigil against the war in Iraq.  The first of the Friday night vigils started even before the actual invasion.  With a single exception for dangerous travel conditions, the group has been in place every Friday night since the inception.  Some of our experiences have been described here and here.

We have grown slowly even though our numbers remain small.  A usual Friday night or Saturday morning will see 12-15 diehard souls with a variety of signs.  Even the signs have changed over time.  This week they are much more pointed in the political messages including “BUSH IS A WAR CRIMINAL.”  And such standards as “SIGN YOUR GRANDCHILDREN UP FOR THE WAR.”  Most are the ordinary peace slogans like “OUT OF IRAQ” and “NO MORE WAR” or ”WAR KILLS.”  One main banner carries the current number of American dead.  That number continues to rise with steady certainty.  Each week we change the number and some weeks we change overnight from Friday to Saturday with the rate of death being so high.

Our group is not the only set of regular protesters.  There are others near our area.  There must be many across the country.  All those folk are out trying to make any impression possible on the minds of the passing motorists.  To that end we are all putting in our little part to stop the war and to bring America to its senses.

When ever will this end?  At the start we thought maybe we’d be on that street corner at most a few months.  Now more than four years later we wonder if we will ever have a chance to rest.  Our real goal is to meet for coffee on Friday nights and reminisce about the old days on the street.  Oh, how we all long for that day.  Until then, we’ll just keep on showing up and standing on the corner enjoying the support from so many and ignoring the obscene gestures and the catcalls from the few.  So with the number over 200 and climbing we will be right back in place until we are no longer needed.