Peace vigil marks three years since start of Iraq war

March 19, 2006|By BONNIE H. BRECHBILL


Flags bearing the names of 2,300 U.S. dead in the war in Iraq fluttered in a cold wind on Chambersburg's square Saturday morning.

In a peace vigil sponsored by the Franklin County Peace Network, about 20 people stood in frigid weather to commemorate the third anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq.

They held signs bearing slogans ranging from "Peaceful Patriot," "War is Not the Answer" and "Peace: A Way of Living for Everyone" to "Incompetent Liar Idiot Bush."


Harriet Diller of Chambersburg came up with the idea of placing the multi-colored flags around the square "to make it more visible, to give people an idea of the scope and make them pay attention," to the number of lives the war has cost.

Diller said she obtained the information from a CNN site that lists names, ages, photos, military unit and cause of death for all those killed in the war. "It was heartbreaking to go through it," she said.

The exact number of Iraqi deaths is not known, she added, but was estimated

at 100,000 on a report from Johns Hopkins.

Peace Network member Allison Melotti-Cormack of Chambersburg said reaction from motorists passing through the square was more positive than negative.

Jordan Thomas of Chambersburg held up a sign reading, "Vicious Circle: Lies, Death and Destruction, War Profits" on the northeast quadrant of the square.

When a woman in a passing van shouted to him, "My son is in the war," Thomas replied, "I hope he comes home soon."

He said that about as many drivers as gave him a thumbs-down sign waved or honked in support.

Thomas's motivation in attending anti-war protests and vigils "is to stand up and be counted so that people will see there are differing points of view. Regardless of who wins or loses, the people who manufacture the arms will win.

"Historically, the supposed reason for going to war comes down to, 'There was no alternative but to go to war,'" he added.

Alternatives include "diplomacy, taking international action rather than unilateral action and not bankrolling and promoting the dictatorship for the benefit of the U.S.," Thomas said.

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