Bring Our Troops Home Rally
United National Anti-War Coalition Rally
by Jill Dalton 4-9-11
It’s a beautiful, sunny Saturday in New York City. A perfect day for a peace rally but I’m feeling a little sad as my usual peeps aren’t able to attend and even though I sent an email to a few other friends I didn’t get one reply but I’m resolved to soldier on alone. Okay, I’m being melodramatic here. So I hopped the C train to the L, got off at Union Square and as I ascended the stairs standing before me was Colonel Ann Wright, one of three State Department Officials who stepped down from the Bush Administration due to disagreements over the invasion of Iraq. She’s speaking with a gentleman but apart from that appeares to be entirely alone. I decide to stop and see if I can speak with her.
Sure enough the gentleman walks away and I as I introduce myself I find myself overtaken by emotion as I tell her how much what she did and continues to do means to me. How much I appreciate her bravery and courage. I tell her about my father, also a Colonel, who fought in three wars including Vietnam, which destroyed our family. She hugs me and says, “That’s what war does, Jill, it destroys families.” I also tell her I’d been writing and getting my articles published and she reinforces how important it is to continue writing and speaking out.
The rally’s a call to arms to halt the illegal wars and instead use military money to fund public jobs, education and a rapid transition to carbon-free clean energy. Union Square’s packed with peace activists and groups from all over the country and the world.
The speakers includ: Howie Hawkins (Green Party) who calls for closing all nuclear power plants as an environmental and financial threat, starting with the immediate closure of Indian Point. Cindy Sheehan reaffirms, “We all know these wars are b.s. and a vote for a Democrat or a Republican’s a vote for more war, more economic repression, and continued devastation of the environment.” U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark spoke. Ann Wright spoke against the wars and the rape of U.S. female soldiers by our troops and demands, “This must stop.” Charles Barron (Freedom Party) reaffirms, “We’re here in the spirit of Martin Luther King and if Obama thinks he’s getting the black vote by sucking up to the likes of Al Sharpton he’s sadly mistaken.” Muslims for Peace are there to stand against Islamophobia. Omar Barghouti, Palestinian Advocate of the Israel boycott’s allowed to speak after the U.S. backed down and issued him a visa.
The speeches are short, succinct, passionate and to the point: end these illegal wars, bring our troops home, no nuclear power, human rights, stand up and speak truth to power. I feel a renewed sense of hope and purpose and it reinforces what I already know, we must all do what we can to keep fighting the good fight.
We can no longer sit back and complain or blame Obama and the Democrats for our predicament. We must take responsibility and be the change we wish to see in the world. Change begins within. We’ve allowed this corporate takeover to happen. We’ve been asleep and now, like Sleeping Beauty, must awaken. We can stop these wars but only through peace. Attend rallies, make calls, write, speak out. Do whatever you can do. No more excuses. Everything helps. Everyone matters. We are one.