March 19 2003, Remembrance!

( – promoted by TheMomCat)

On That Weekend VVAW & VFP, and others, Veterans in DC

We had already started the planning and reserving the venue for the ‘teach in’, Saturday, and March of Wreaths on Sunday only weeks  before, not knowing the ‘shock and awe’ would start only a couple of days prior to.

The following is a couple of cuts from the VFP Newsletter shortly after, link is pdf of eight pages:

Operation Dire Distress

THE TEACH-IN – Saturday,

March 22

The Kay Chapel at the American University, Washington, D.C.,

teach-in was packed all afternoon as speaker after speaker, with

solid knowledge and passionate eloquence, expertly laid out the fallacies

and falsehoods driving the war in Iraq, the ways it could have

been averted, with honor, and the need to end it quickly.

I was impressed by the sanity with which people who have

earned the right to speak as soldiers and citizens and patriots of the

highest order confronted the insanity of the actions of the Bush

administration. It was a long and illustrious list of combat nurses,

intelligence experts, academics, clerics, citizens of all stripes – people

like Bobby Muller, Daniel Ellsberg, Ray McGivern, Charles

Sheehan-Miles, Jamie Vasquez, Jonathan Schell, Charley

Richardson and Nancy Lessing of Military Families Speak Out, our

president, David Cline. C-Span saw fit to broadcast it for four solid

hours.

THE PROCESSION – Sunday,

March 23

The day of the march was brisk and

sunny. Veterans and Military Families

from all over the country collected on a

knoll near the Vietnam Memorial. We listened

to a few, short speeches. Most of us

had our messages firmly placed in our

hearts and minds. In solemn procession

we made our way from one war memorial

to another.

At each, a small delegation of veterans

walked in and placed a wreath in

memory of those we knew and didn’t

know that were lost to their families.

Peter Shaw played his bagpipes on

each occasion but one; when he joined the

delegation to the Korean War memorial.

There we laid our arms on each others’ shoulders and kept a short

silence.

We visited the Office of Veterans Affairs. The Gulf War I vets,

of a war not yet memorialized, laid their wreath at the doorstep. In a

short speech, Erik Gustafson of EPIC and a member of VFP, noted

how the Congress voted out a resolution supporting the troops, yet,

at three the next morning, voted to cut billions from the budget of

the Office of Veterans Affairs over the next ten years.

The final official delegation delivered the VAIW statement of

purpose, signed by over 3000 veterans, ranking from Admirals and

Generals to PFCs, Airmen and Seamen, to the Whitehouse.

The President’s people refused to accept it. –>–>

“noweasels” has a Diary up at Daily KOS of remembrance!

Now let me expand some.

On that Saturday at American University it was a packed house of a couple of hundred veterans, from WWII to Gulf War I, as well as some family members and a few friends.

It was a long but electrifying day, and much of what was said then, in front of the C-Span mikes and camera’s, has yet to be proven wrong and instead has plenty of now public proof the speakers and those as the war drums were beating before and after were right!

But the next day, Sunday, told the real story of that weekend and this country and the rapid spiral down as, once again, the drums beat louder and louder and the name calling from a certain sector, the greater majority, became more and more slanderous and well beyond childish, well beyond.

Wish I had a few of the photo’s I took but that was before I had a digital camera and I searched and didn’t see any I might have uploaded then, was probably thinking this country would come to it’s senses and the carnage would be over so wouldn’t need any seven years later as it still continues!

I woke up early that Sunday morning, as is my habit anyway, left the downtown DC hotel and found a place to have breakfast. I wanted to get to the Mall early so I could take some photo’s of the memorials, where the WWII Memorial now sits was just under construction than and was fenced off. Little did I know I would take some more pics.

As I was taking those photo’s I was also visiting “The Wall” and finding a few friends names who had died in-country, a couple while I was there. As I was at “The Wall” a few buses stopped and unloaded some people. They all started walking past me and headed towards the Lincoln Memorial, at first I didn’t think much about that except as most passed me, I had on a Veterans for Peace T-Shirt as well as the ball cap, if they looked my way they quickly diverted their eyes away, not one word was said, that I found very strange.

It would be shortly after I would find out why.

As the time came near for us to meet I walked up to the knoll and there was a couple of my brother vets there already, while we talked more and more started coming. At the same time a number of parks workers showed up with a couple of pickup truck loads of barriers, looking like bike lock storage but without the smaller metal separators, and they started setting those up right near us between us and “The Wall”. With them came a number of horse mounted DC Police, if memory serves there were about seven or eight that number might be one or two less or more, and they started walking the horses on the other side, Lincoln Memorial side, of the newly set up barricades. We found out why.

Those folks I mentioned were on their way down to a Clear Channels “Support The Troops” Rally at the memorial, stage was set there, music then started playing out of loudspeakers, all patriotic, and not only did they divert their eyes from me but not one of some four hundred plus veterans or family got and invite, as a matter of fact the barricades and police were there to separate us Veterans from their “Support The Troops” rally. They had a few hundred folks there and not one saw the hypocrisy of what they were doing as we were there and the country had started bombing another’s!

Because of the worry something might break out the police, though very cordial, wouldn’t let us walk in mass to the Vietnam Memorial to lay the wreath we had and a give our individual silent thought at the site of most of us there brothers who names are etched for eternity, as most of us vets were ‘Nam Vets. We were allowed to bring the wreath there with only a couple of us escorted by the police, the rest had to stay on the knoll.

As I said above, the area at the other end of the reflecting pool was fenced off as work had started on the WWII Memorial, this created a dilemma, how do we get from where we were to the Korean Memorial on the other side as the police apparently were told not to let us veterans walk through the “support the troops” rally at the other end. Low and behold the Pool was Empty for cleaning and repainting, bush administration policy for that day knowing we were going to be there, who knows. Will say that when in DC only weeks before for a very large pro-peace rally during the din of the drums, and being after winter, the pool did look like it could use a cleaning.

We were escorted by the police, on horseback, through the reflecting pool, we walked across the empty pool and not on water, all while the patriotic music blared and the “support the troops” crowd showed their countries? spirit? at the Lincoln Memorial!

After we laid the wreath at the Korean memorial we went to the frence and laid one there for the WWII future Memorial and in remembrance of those fallen. We than walked to the sidewalk to line up and march to the Office of Veterans Affairs for the last wreath laying for the Gulf War Vets and those who were already in Afghanistan and had just invaded Iraq. As we started walking we were carrying a few banners and had a number of VFP flags, we were also doing our cadence calls of which many who were at the numerous peace rallies in DC later as well as around the country not only heard but joined in on. As we walked I kept looking back and the couple of hundred of us started growing, the line kept getting longer as well as wider. Many horns honked and hands waved, a few people walking towards us did give dirty looks but words weren’t spoken or if they were weren’t heard by us. As we walked into the buildings around us the sound started echoing off of them, it can get very loud on a sunday morning in a near empty city. People kept joining us and joining our cadence calls, I figured by the time we got to the VA well over fifteen hundred people were there for the same reason we were as they joined and found out why, it was very moving, but we knew all the time our military had started and was continuing the bombing of an innocent country and especially it’s people!

Another day filled with thought!!

2 comments

    • jimstaro on March 19, 2010 at 6:55 pm
      Author

    504 Innocent Men, Women, and Children Killed

    Raped, Murdered, Decapitated

    March 16, 2010, Chuck Palazzo, Quang Ngai, Vietnam –  There are not many events that occurred during the Vietnam War that are more horrible than what took place in the small hamlets of My Lai and My Khe (Son My) on March 16, 1968. 2nd Lt. William Calley, on orders from his Company Commander Captain Ernest Medina, led the troops of 1st  Platoon, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment,  11th Light Infantry Brigade, 23rd  Infantry Division, United States Army, into this peaceful village located approximately 140 kilometers south of Danang and 14 kilometers from Quang Ngai in what was then South Vietnam. –>–>–>

    • jimstaro on March 19, 2010 at 8:14 pm
      Author

    Iraq: Thousands Dead, $747.3 Billion Spent And Not Any Safer


    Today is the seventh anniversary of the Iraq invasion. There’s a temptation as we begin to end our combat presence in Iraq to search for a happy ending. But there has been no ‘victory’ in Iraq. We created this video as a reminder of the damage done to Iraq and to our country over the last seven years. –>–>–>

Comments have been disabled.