I did something yesterday that I have never done before. I attended an anti-war rally.
I grew up in the 1960s. I came of age during the Vietnam war. I applied for a draft card and received it the year before the draft was abolished.
I watched Walter Cronkite on the CBS Evening News every night reporting the body counts from our country's misadventure in Southeast Asia. I knew it was wrong, and that we were involved in a war we could never win.
I was also enamored of the growing anti-war movement in this country. But having a fairly reactionary father, I could never express my opinion about the whole thing. Even when my brother Mike found himself facing the possibility of being drafted and going to fight in Vietnam, I never said anything.
Luckily, things worked out okay for Mike, and our military participation in that country eventually came to an end.
I will admit that four years ago I bought into the lies our government used to justify invading Iraq. But after our President's proclamation of victory, it became apparent that this war was not close to being over.
Then the government's lies were uncovered: false justifications for military adventurism.
I'm tired of my tax dollars being spent to continue this futile mission. I'm tired of reading about more and more of America's youth dying for no reason. Here in Kentucky, American flags fly at half-mast almost all the time to mourn the loss of another young man or woman's life.
Alison and I were informed of this rally on Tuesday. Rallies were held all across the country to protest the President's veto of a Congressional spending bill that would have forced the administration to withdraw our troops from Iraq by October 1. And we decided we could no longer sit idle.
We attended the rally held at a busy intersection near downtown during rush hour. And we were heartened to meet a group of wonderful, passionate people who shared our beliefs. There were perhaps 50 people in attendance, people from all walks of life and of all ages. Many of them have family members in Iraq right now. Some have sons who have served more than one tour in Iraq, and who have now chosen to go AWOL in protest of this futile war.
Everyone carried signs bearing messages of protest. Some blew whistles, or banged on pots and pans. One woman carried a sign which read 'Honk for Peace', and many of the commuters on their way through the intersection did. Many also flashed peace signs as they passed. Many more than I ever hoped would.
The only sign of dissent for our message came from the driver of a Hummer H2, who rolled down his window and gave a thumbs down as he passed.
At least he didn't flip us the bird.
You can see more photos from the rally here and here.
By now you have all read Alison's latest post, and know that tomorrow we are heading to Scotland by way of Paris.
We will be staying with Amber and Len, who have moved back to Scotland from Belgium, where we visited them last December. We will have a rental car and plan to do some exploring while there. We plan to visit at least one of Alison's ancestral homes.
Ali and her kids have never been to Scotland, but I traveled there as a teen to visit my brother Mike, who was stationed there with the U.S. Navy.I hope we will be able to visit where he lived and worked, too.
We will have our cameras and our computers with us, and will try to post updates and pictures while there.
Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day You fritter and waste the hours in an off hand way Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town Waiting for someone or something to show you the way
Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today And then one day you find ten years have got behind you No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun
And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but its sinking And racing around to come up behind you again The sun is the same in the relative way, but you're older Shorter of breath and one day closer to death
Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way The time is gone, the song is over, thought I'd something more to say
Home, home again I like to be here when I can And when I come home cold and tired Its good to warm my bones beside the fire Far away across the field The tolling of the iron bell Calls the faithful to their knees To hear the softly spoken magic spells.