Friday, March 14, 2008

Soldier Memorial Event Cancelled

Because of politics. We had a member who wanted to politicize the event. She wanted this to be an anti-war memorial.

I will come out of the closet today. I do not believe that we should be in Iraq. I don't know what the solution is; I don't know that we should pull out quickly but I don't think staying there indefinitely is the answer either. I don't agree with out current policy. Personally, that is my position on Iraq. HOWEVER, as the President of MSC, I will not have MSC, as a whole, take a position on the war in Iraq.

I wanted this memorial to raise awareness about the fact that we ARE still at war and that this war is costing human lives. Period. A recent poll found that only 28 percent of Americans knew that nearly 4,000 service members have died in Iraq in the past five years. Most thought it was 3,000 or less.

I met with the council at the Trinity Lutheran Church yesterday about using their lawn for our memorial. I assured them that this was not an anti-war event. They were extremely supportive and they wanted to reach out to the chaplains on Fort Hood and to other churches in the area. They also encouraged me to get as much media as possible to cover the event.

The member who wanted to have this event and who secured the 600 crosses now refuses to participate in the memorial. She believes that the church is going to put a "positive spin" on the deaths of 600 soldiers and the 600 crosses. I disagree.

Nonetheless, I do not have the crosses and so the event is cancelled.

So much for raising awareness about the human cost of war and honoring our fallen soldiers.

Perhaps we can arrange something for Memorial Day weekend... we will keep you posted...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bearing Witness to Our Fallen (Fort Hood, Texas)

As the five year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq approaches, Military Spouses for Change (MSC) is inviting you to join us as we remember our fallen soldiers on Sunday, March 16th.

Fort Hood has lost the most soldiers in the nation to the war in Iraq. While the DoD considers the number to be 432, an NPR article about Fort Hood's Gold Star Families (written nearly a year ago) had that number at more than 600 (that would give us an average of two deaths per week). We suspect the DoD figure may only cover fatalities from hostile fire and not suicides, friendly fire, and/or deaths NOT immediately following their injuries.

MSC is going to be place a cross in the grass next to the Trinity Lutheran Church in Copperas Cove, Texas, for every soldier we believe has been lost to us here at Fort Hood. That means we are going to place 600 crosses in the grass so every person who drives by can see that the cost of war (any war) is best understood in human terms because it is being paid for with human lives--those of the soldiers and those of their families.

We would also like to remind those who pass by that there is nothing routine about the war in Iraq, nothing routine about any war. There is nothing routine about Katherine Cathey's last night with her husband:
Katherine Cathey.

We are nearly seven years into two wars with two countries and for the first time in American history we have had tax cuts instead of tax increases. As family members, we are told that the DoD doesn't have the funds to provide our servicemembers and our families with the medical and mental health professionals they need to cope the the physical and emotional hardships and traumas of these conflicts. Are we a nation at war or a military at war?

MSC is inviting members of the public as well as members of the military to read names off our list of Fort Hood fatalities. We currently have a list of 432 (from the DoD). We are going to look for additional names here at Fort Hood.

If you or anyone you know would be interested in helping put up crosses (we will start placing the crosses on the grass at 11 am), reading the names (we will start the roll call at 1 or 2 pm), speaking at the event, or otherwise helping with the event, please contact Cynthia Thomas at 254.768.8300.

Please pass this information on to anyone you think would like to participate. AND PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE APART OF READING A SOLDIER'S NAME.

Thank you.

Carissa Picard
Military Spouses for Change
Involve. Inform. Inspire.