Last minute, last night I went with a friend to Fayetteville, NC to join others in a Vigil against the war in Iraq.
My attendance shovelled up memories of days past and shook my core. While Bush was doing damage control on the war and the 'liberation' of Iraqis, I was seeing children holding up signs saying, "Toddlers for Peace"...one even said to me that he was, "..waiting for daddy to come." Now he was just talking about his dad filming the president's speech down the road, but it totally threw my heart at the wall.
Waiting for my father to call, write, and come home was probably one of the toughest times in my life while he served in Desert Shield and Storm. Sure, it was cool when he came in my 5th grade class in full chemical warfare gear showing my classmates some of the things they wore, but whenever we had to hang out in the hanger and watch him get on that monsterous plane with all the other families, I would cry for days. I guess I was a little more mature when I was younger, realizing he could die any moment. He never sugar coated things.
Coming home after Desert Shield and then almost immediately leaving again for Desert Storm left a permanent scar and resentment for war...why did he leave? will he come back? how will my little sisters and mom survive?
At the Quaker house in Fayetteville there were names of all the dead US soldiers in this 'war on terror'...I read some of those names, trying my best to pronounce and say them as if their families were right in front of me. I started to feel like that 5th grader again. I have a few friends in Iraq right now and started to think about what they were doing and if one of the names would come up on the list I was reading.
At the demonstration, I met a man named Stan Goff, who's writings I am just now noticing. His insight and experience truely give me hope that there are more people who have 'awakened' from the dogmatic 'loyalty' I've seen in some soldiers, my father included. My dad is a great man, but it seems he still follows Bush...and sometimes this pulls the carpet from my feet.
Here is an excerpt from Stan's speech:
Yet, tonight the President of the United States is going to come here to Fort Bragg and tell everyone in the country that this war is making people safer. In fact, since the Bush administration opportunistically used the terrible shock of 9-11 to advance what we now know to have been a pre-determined agenda, the number of terror attacks in the world has dramatically increased.
Let me say this very clearly, because the empirical evidence is very clear. Bush’s war has not made anyone safer. It has, however, destroyed the lives of thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and according to international polls, the United States is now held in lower public esteem in the world than China.
The United States is already suffering higher casualties than we were at the same stage of the Vietnam War. So, okay, Iraq is NOT Vietnam. It could, in fact, get
worse. Rumsfeld is now telling us that the war could last for 12 more years.
This trip was an experience and I am very glad I went.