July 7, 2003
People of Peace, Stand Proudly as Patriots
BUZZFLASH READER COMMENTARY
It seems we have lost. I've seen America’s government deciding to be an invader for the first time in history and, after initial doubts, the American people supported it. I’ve seen those of us who marched against war relegated to “focus groups.” Like a scene out of the Third Reich, people who would seem to be sane individuals, burn Dixie Chicks’ CDs in the streets; “Freedom fries” reign supreme.
At the presentation of our flag at the 4th of July fireworks display here in Cheyenne Wyoming, my hometown, the presenter mentioned that there are too many Americans who, “don’t respect the flag.” He separated the sheep from the goats, the patriots from the protesters.
To say the least, this marcher for peace felt down in the dumps. Then something happened to strengthen my resolve. The fireworks display began with a reading of the names and ages of each American soldier killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom. With each name read, a single white firework was shot into the air, rose up through the solemn night sky, began to descend back down, and fizzled out. Lori Ann Piestewa, a white light, a falling star, then darkness again. It was as if we were sending our national heroes up into heaven. As I sat there between my parents, my father looking a little bored, my mother’s eyes glistening with tears, I got to thinking about those names of soldiers, so many about my age.
Each fireworks retort was also the retort of an Iraqi rifle, a miss-lobbed grenade, the crash of a helicopter. Bam Frederick E. Pokorney Jr dead. It was the light of Robert M. Rodriguez’s life, acceding through existence, then fizzling out, descending to the dead.
This is why I marched. I didn’t march for the United Nations. I didn’t march for a certain political ideology. I marched for peace. I marched for the life of Brendon C. Reiss.
The patriots holler and shout at the explosions while Toby Keith sings about putting “a boot in your ass” The protesters realize “an eye for an eye makes the world go blind,” and anger against anger makes a graveyard. The patriots smile and cheer about the troops we sent off to die. The protester sit somber, eyes glistening, knowing America chose this war, America chose to be the aggressor, America chose to let those soldiers die.
Don’t be embarrassed that you strove for peace. Don’t be embarrassed that you want to know about the legitimacy of the documents used to justify our war. Don’t be embarrassed that you want to know where the weapons of mass destruction are. Don’t be embarrassed; our cause is just, our motives virtuous, our actions commendable.
We protesters may not wrap ourselves in the American flag, but rest assured we did not protest as traitors to our country, but as a people standing against needless death.
A BUZZFLASH READER COMMENTARY
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