Activists gathered on the Veterans’ Memorial Bridge in Cleveland Tuesday to pay tribute to service men and women killed in Iraq. Ideastream’s Bill Rice reports.
About 150 people faced a cold biting wind and intermittent raindrops during the evening rush hour. Their purpose was two-fold: to commemorate the four thousand soldiers and marines killed in action since the war began in 2003, and to demand a reversal of policy that would begin to withdraw troops from Iraq. Some demonstrators held anti-war signs up as cars streamed over the bridge. Penny Allen is with Peace Action, one of several groups involved. She was a lead organizer of the gathering.
Allen: "We’ve strung four thousand names up and down the length of the Detroit-Superior bridge, and are holding four thousand light to commemorate the four thousand military dead. And we feel it's time to stop counting. It's time for this war to end."
Those with personal connections to the war were not veterans of it, but had family members or friends who fought in Iraq – some killed, some returned from combat, some still serving there. Doug Horner. a pastor at St. Paul’s Community Church in Tremont, and himself a former marine, remembered his brother Bruce.
Horner: "My brother was lost in Faluja back on June first. He was with the military police unit. They were out in the countryside looking for the people who were kidnapped, and was in a unit that caught sniper fire. And he caught a bullet that got in between his flack jacket and his helmet, so…."
Horner says he understands that the war and occupation can’t be ended quickly, but that he’s opposed to keeping troops in Iraq indefinitely.