COMBAT VETS RALLY AT CINDY SHEEHAN CANDLELIGHT
by Thomas M. Sipos, managing editor.
[August 24, 2005]
Combat veterans rallied to support antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan at a
candlelight vigil held in New York City's Union Square Park on August 17,
2005 -- and the Hollywood Investigator was there!
Cindy Sheehan's soldier son,
Casey, died in the Iraq War. Since then Sheehan has been trying to
meet with President Bush for a second time to express her criticism of
the war and demand an explanation from Bush as to why her son died in Iraq.
met with Bush once before and was satisfied with his claim that the war
was necessary. Since then she's studied the situation further, lost
her faith in Bush and the war, and wants a second meeting.
The Union Square vigil was
one of 1,627 held nationwide, says
sponsor MoveOn.org, which claimed 261 pre-registerd attendees at Union
Square, a total 2,990 in all of Manhattan.
contrasted their own combat service records with "chickenhawk" politicians
and pundits who urged war on Iraq, yet who avoided military service and
sacrifice when in their own youth.
One such speaker was Pete
a Korean War vet and president of the New York City chapter of Veterans
Asked by the Investigator
what he thought of Sheehan's efforts to meet with Bush, Bronson said, "I
think it's a shame that Casey had to die for a lie. And I agree with
what she's doing. That's why I'm here tonight, to try and help amplify
her complaints and get this country on the right track."
Asked what the U.S. should
do now that it's in Iraq, Bronson replied, "Get out! Now! We
don't belong there. 'Iraq' is Arabic for 'Vietnam.' We're in
quagmire. Smarter people, generals, have said that. We can't
win. We're not defeating terrorism. Every day that we're there
we're creating new terrorists.
speaker identified himself as Marine First Lieutenant Carl F. Viggiano
Jr. Viggiano arose from the crowd unexpectedly to give his story,
saying that he joined the Marines in 1988, straight out of college. Despite being honorably discharged, he's been living homeless on the streets
of New York since returning from the Gulf War in 1991.
the Investigator about his Gulf War combat experiences, Viggiano said,
"I was a paratrooper. I blew up buildings. I killed a lot of
innocent people because Bush was a dick." Asked how he became homeless,
Viggiano said, "I can't readjust to society. I get a check [from
the government] but it goes to my kids. I have two children that
are alive -- and I don't want to be a deadbeat dad."
Viggiano said he had
a third child, a daughter, who'd died two days before.
Hearing Viggiano's story,
Bronson began calling his contacts, trying to find ways in which Veterans
for Peace might intervene with the V.A. to assist Viggiano.
from Code Pink also participated
in the candlelight vigil. One of them told the Investigator, "We're
here tonight to support Cindy Sheehan. Her courage and her bravery,
and standing strong against the war. I live in New York City. We're sending the message to Texas all the way from here."
also with Code Pink, "I'm a professor in the counseling department at
Jay College of Criminal Justice. We've lost students in Iraq. Sometimes I work with students who've been in Iraq and come back. Most are having a pretty hard time. Unfortunately, Cindy Sheehan's
son didn't have the opportunity to come back. That's one of the reasons
I'm here. It's the least we can do in support of him."
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