Sunday, September 04, 2005

Bring Them Home Now Tour: Central Route Notes

09/04/2005 St Louis

I spoke with Lietta late last night at the end of her day. She was back in the home of a local attorney, Bill Quick and his wife Diane in St. Louis.

Her day began with Bill and Diane at a local Catholic church service during which Lietta was able to speak briefly and announce that the Veterans For Peace bus diverted to Louisiana to deliver supplies to Covington (La?).

Afterward, they travelled to a vigil being held at a large beautiful "cathedral-looking" church in St. Louis that was - per Lietta - sparsely attended although a few folks walking by did stop with questions and opinions (mostly supportive).

One interesting thing at the vigil that she felt was a good idea was a reading of the names of the 28 Missourians who have died in the war and a formal proposal to the governor of a state-wide half mast of the flag whenever the state loses another soldier.

Following the vigil, they went to another location for a forum-type meeting in which the topic was "what can we do?" Lietta says that at first the activity commenced with folks who stood up and gave "shoring up" and encouragement type speeches. The way she described them caused me to envision almost a comiseration session in which there were rants, lamenting and encouragement.

Lietta was given a chance to speak and when she did, she explained that what she had heard so far was (in her sometimes blunt way) non-productive. (Echoes of what she told the Oraq war anniversary rally in Seattle earlier this year.)

She asked the forum, "What could you do tomorrow that would change what is going on on the ground?"

After a moment or two of silence (shocked?) hands began raising. Useful suggestions for more tangible and immediate activities began to come forth - ideas, suggestions and "let's do it". Based on how pleased she was with the shift in focus, it sounded to me like the forum then turned into a productive workshop - which is what we hope to see from the tour. Moving off ideals to the tangible which hopefully will result more than just a flare or flash-in-the-pan ignited merely for support for the rally in D.C. on the 24th.

Lietta also impressed with fellow MFSO/GoldStar member, Beatrice Salvador who is also on the Central bus and was in Crawford during the time Lietta was there. Beatrice who is Hispanic and speaks powerfully from her cultural viewpoint, seems to have as her theme her own equivalent of staying the course and staying on-topic. We need to keep current and contemporary with what is going on in the country and linking current events, such as Katrina, with the purpose of the Tour.

There is a direct connection that has been publicized powerfully between Bush/Iraq and the consequences of Katrina and gives greater credence to not only the idea of bringin National Guard Troops home countrywide, but also the disaster of underfunded emergency preparedness because of diversion of funding to Iraq.

Beatrice seems to home in on this point in a powerful way.

Lietta by now is on the RV (a large Winnegago but not the size of, for example, a chartered bus. The travel will be an exercise in crowded conditions with the current number of 6 travelers expected to increase to 9 or 10. But, she says, it's still better than living in a ditch in Crawford and well worth the movement toward 9/24/05 when hopefully the voice in D.C. will be massive.

All for now, I'm still working emails, the website, blogs and going after local media.

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President George W. Bush's statement in March 2006 after 3 yrs of war "a future President will have to resolve war in Iraq"


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