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Iowans Mark the 7th Anniversary of the Iraq War

Iowans Mark the 7th Anniversary of the Iraq War

imageby Paul Deaton

“We sang 'If I Had a Hammer,' written in
1949 in
support of the progressive movement. We were heartened against society’s
harshness by being together as friends.”

A woman started crying as she read the names of people
killed during the first seven years of the Iraq war. Today marks the beginning
of the eighth year of US participation in this military action and it is hard
not to be affected by reading the names of those who died. A bell rang after
each name was read. It is especially disheartening when we realize that in addition
to 43 Iowans, uncounted Iraqi men, women and children lost their lives during the Iraq war.
Today was a day of vigils and demonstrations in many major population centers
in Iowa and the nation. It is up to the living to honor the dead. Before this
war ends, more will die.

As the sun rose in front of us, food service tractor
trailers, beer trucks and refuse haulers plied the streets servicing nearby
bars and restaurants. Buses drove past and some of the drivers honked their
horns in recognition of the vigil. The bank showed the temperature to be 43
degrees, but none of us minded the chilly weather. We sang Pete Seeger and Lee
Hays’ song “If I Had a Hammer,” written in 1949 in
support of the progressive movement. We were heartened against society’s
harshness by being together as friends.

There were about two dozen of us this morning: a better
crowd than normal. We didn’t need the bullhorn.image There were signs to hold and
candles to burn. As we were gathering we exchanged greetings and talked about
the future. This one was attending law school, another talked about nuclear
power and another about the cost of the wars. Someone wanted a new yard sign
because the first one had worn out during the course of this interminable war. After
an hour the group broke up and we parted to get on with our lives.

Ed Flaherty, a member of PEACE Iowa and Veterans for Peace,
organized two vigils in Iowa City at the University of Iowa’s Pentacrest. (If
you live in the area, the second one is at 7:00 PM today, March 19). We were pleased
that the Cedar Rapids Gazette sent a reporter to cover the event for both print
and television. A couple of participants gave interviews while the rest of us
stood as backdrop for the camera. If we weren’t standing our vigil, there may
not have been press coverage of the anniversary of the Iraq war at all. Many of
us thanked the reporter for coming and supporting us. When the government won’t
listen, we need every friend we can get.

Deaton is a native Iowan living in rural Johnson County and weekend
editor of Blog for Iowa. He is also a member of Iowa Physicians for
Social Responsibility and Veterans for Peace.
E-mail Paul

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