Small Vigils Mark Iraq War’s 4th Anniversary

Sarah Ortman and her daughter Alissa proest the Iraq War on Broad Street in Bexley
Sarah Ortman and her daughter Alissa proest the Iraq War on Broad Street in Bexley

Several low-key events were scheduled in Columbus yesterday to mark the 4th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War. Last night about 40 people carried signs on Broad Street in Bexley to show their displeasure.

Protestors stood in a light drizzle at the dimly lit corner of Board Street and Drexel Avenue in Bexley; the city’s unobtrusive war memorial just behind them. The protestors did get support from passing drivers as they held aloft their signs protesting the war. Mary Henrich’s sign denounced the president’s troop escalation. She heard from a passenger in the back seat of a passing station wagon who agreed.

“I protested Vietnam and this feels so much like the same activity,” Henrich said. “Didn’t we learn anything?”

“Hell yeah, out of Iraq,” yelled a man from a passing car. “It’s wrong. It’s very wrong.”

There was at least one profanity hurled at the protesters from a passing driver and anther made an obscene gesture.

More bewildering to Teresa Dawson, a local coordinator for the group Military Families Speak Out, is why more resources are being poured into a conflict aboard which she says is draining preparedness at home.

“In May of 2005 we had less than 12% of our deployable national guard left in the state,” Dawson said. “That’s a security risk. We leave our equipment over there and it doesn’t come back with us so we have to replace it.”

Earlier she told the group that President Bush has lost the majority he once had among Americans who supported the war. She says she thinks more people would get involved now if they had loved ones fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“.1% of our families in the United States are who is directly affected by this war because we continue to use our troops over and over again, Dawson said. “We don’t have a draft and it’s not affecting most of the population on a daily basis. Which is probably why when we have protests like we have in Washington DC there aren’t as many people as there would be.”

Over the weekend, a protest in New York drew about 1,000 demonstrators. San Francisco police broke up an anti-war protest after demonstrators covered in white sheets and flowers staged a “die-in” downtown. In Toledo, the Lucas County courthouse lawn has been covered in wooden tombstones – about 3,000 of them in all.

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