Marchers voice their opposition to the war in Iraq
By Constance Dillon
Monday, March 17, 2008
REDDING, CA. More than 100 people gathered at Redding City Hall Sunday, March 17, to take part in March and Rally for Peace sponsored by a number of local groups. Among them were Laureen Oliveira, of Montgomery Creek, her children Rize, 5, Aren, 2, and Mahaia, 10 and Rose Sloan of Round Mountain, with her daughter Talowa, 5. “Talowa was born March 1, 2003,” Sloan said. “She’s been in a time of war her whole life. I just wonder how many other children will grow up with war.” Oliveira, a member of the Montgomery Creek School Board, carried a sign that read “R U Listening? Winter Soldier Testimonials.”
The Web site IVAW.org (Iraq Veterans Against the War) has filmed testimonials of veterans who fought in Iraq. “They are replicating what the soldiers who’d fought in Vietnam had done when they came home. They are voicing their experiences,” Oliveira said.
Dick and Patrice Laughlin, of French Gulch, said they participated in the march because they feel the war in Iraq is a waste. “I think people are here to voice concern for the ongoing slaughter in Iraq and the unresponsiveness of the government to those who feel that we’re there for no good reason,” said Dick Laughlin, 65. “We’re wasting money that could go for better things.” The Laughlins are both nurses and said they feel money spent on the war in Iraq could fund better health care in the United States. “We should be getting out of Iraq and holding Bush responsible for war crimes,” Patrice Laughlin, 54, said.
Fewer than a dozen people showed up to oppose the war protestors. A few veterans, willing to give their opinions but not their names, rode motorcycles north from Sacramento. They had served in the military decades ago, one of them in Vietnam. Rich Trantham, 50, of Shingletown, also a biker, was convinced that any protest of the war anywhere in the United States only emboldened the enemy. “Anytime there is a protest like this, the attacks from al-Qaida increase seven to 10 percent,” Trantham said. “That’s from Fox News.”
Mark Hansen, 60, of Redding, said he had protested the war in Vietnam 40 years earlier. He held a sign that read “These Colors Don’t Run the World.” “I saw it on a wall in Portland and I thought I could use it,” Hansen said.
Bobbi Ashworth was attending her first peace march. “I disagree with this war,” Ashworth said. “I have friends who have joined the military. It’s something I feel a lot of passion about.” The 18-year-old picked up one of the protest signs that had not yet been claimed and joined the other marchers as they made their way down Cypress Avenue to Market Street.
Those sponsoring the rally were Cascade Action Now!, Citizens For Responsible Government, Humanist Peace Society, Code Pink, Redding Friends Meeting, Redding Universalist Fellowship, The People’s Press and First Issues. [For the original article and photos of the protest, go here.]
(Thanks to Dickie Magidoff who sent this in.)