Bring Them Home Now

Bethany Brakemeyer

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Last Thursday a troop of five men and women entered the George School, hoping to gather support for their movement to bring all the troops back from Iraq.

Cindy Sheehan’s “Bring Them Home Now” bus tour made a stop at the George School, to share their stories and opinions on why President Bush should pull all soldiers out of Iraq. Many members of the group were part of Camp Casey based in Crawford, Texas, where the tour began.

Cindy Sheehan spurred the tour after her son was killed in Iraq. The founder of Camp Casey became active in pursuing the end of the war and the move to have something done in Congress. Her quote, “Mr. President, you have daughters. How would you feel if one of them was killed?” has become an engine in the vehicle to spawn change.

The end mission is to come together with Cindy Sheehan and the rest of the tour around the United States, in Washington, D.C. to demand some action from President Bush; action that will hopefully support their efforts in bringing their brothers and sisters home from Iraq.

The members of the group included Hart Viges, Vince George, Lietta Ruger, Bill Mitchell, and Bill Perry.

The tour’s members represented several groups in support of bringing the troops home including: Gold Star Families for Peace, Military Families Speak Out, Iraq Veterans Against the War, and Veterans for Peace.

As each member spoke, the small crowd of students and area residents remained respectively quiet.

Hart Viges, from Texas, a veteran of the war in Iraq and member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, spoke to the group regarding his entrance and exit to the war. He felt, “There is no reason to kill another human being,” and expressed his hopeful thoughts for the bus tour.

Vince George, of West Virginia, and Lietta Ruger, of Washington, both have loved ones in Iraq and are working toward bringing them home. George agreed with Viges saying there is “no reason for anyone else to die…no honor for anyone else to die.”

Ruger informed the audience that 1 million children in the United States have a parent that is deployed overseas.

Bill Mitchell of California had a son die in Iraq and is fighting for no more boys and girls to die. Emotionally charged Mitchell told the assembly his son was not lost and “if he was lost I’d find him, if he was fallen, I’d pick him up, my son was killed.”

The final speaker for the tour was Bill Perry, a veteran of the Vietnam War. Originally from Levittown, PA, Perry gave the audience an overview of the war in Vietnam and the unnecessary risks taken, similar to those of the war in Iraq.

Gathering audience participation, Perry asked the viewers several questions all ending with the answer “it was a lie!” Perry remained adamant in his position as he spoke, adding, “honor the dead by building a memorial remembering the truth of why [the soldiers] died.”

At the end of the presentation, several audience members had questions for the panel, such as how they dealt with people opposed to their movement.

Viges said “Kill ’em with kindness.” The other members also agreed saying they were peaceful and meant no harm to others, and just to smile and cause no trouble.

Near the end of the question and answer period an audience member dubbed the group as “traitors” and was quickly escorted outside. Appearing a bit ruffled, several members stood up and proclaimed, “I am an American!”

At the close of the presentation the groups were able to interact with the audience and exchange ideas. This enabled them to gather more support for their next stop at Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

As they move toward Washington, D.C., “Bring Them Home Now” is attempting to turn the tides in the war in Iraq.

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