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COMBAT VETS RALLY AT CINDY SHEEHAN CANDLELIGHT VIGIL

by Thomas M. Sipos, managing editor.  [August 24, 2005]

 


[HollywoodInvestigator.com]  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.

Sheehan 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.

Many speakers 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 Bronson, a Korean War vet and president of the New York City chapter of Veterans for Peace.

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 a 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.

Another 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asked by 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.

Women 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."

Added Karen Beatty, also with Code Pink, "I'm a professor in the counseling department at John 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."

 

 

 

Copyright © 2005 by HollywoodInvestigator.com

 

 

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