Saturday, November 04, 2006

Rally: Bring Troops Home

Veterans, clergy and peace activists joined the Dixon family Saturday (Nov. 4, 2006) in a rally to bring troops home from Iraq.

About 40 people came out to support the rally at the War Memorial on the grounds of City Hall. Rev. Robert Dixon and his daughter Lisa have both served their country, but the family’s feelings are strained over having both of Lisa’s children at risk in current military conflicts.

Rev. Dixon said he spoke to his granddaughter, Jessie Dixon, at 5:30 a.m. from where she is serving in Iraq.

“I would have preferred that the conversation would have taken place over coffee at the breakfast table,” he said.

Lisa Dixon’s son, Malcolm Armstrong, is stationed at Fort Riley, Kan. and is facing deployment to Afghanistan.

Both brother and sister are serving in the U.S. Army. Rev. Dixon is an Air Force veteran of the Korean Conflict and Lisa Dixon served four years as a U.S. Marine. But Rev. Dixon said, “This war has caused much heartbreak not only here but among the people in Iraq.”

Public support for the administration’s military policies has dropped as the situation appears to be more untenable than ever. Rev. Dixon called it an “illegal war” that has cost billions, resulted in more than 3,000 U.S. military deaths and 29,000 returning home injured.

Lisa Dixon said her daughter has already lost four people from her unit.

“She joined the military to protect serve this country. I joined the military to protect and serve,” she said, adding she supports the troops but wants them home.

Members of People’s Organization for Progress handed out anti-war placards and displayed them to cars passing by, getting honks of support.

Speakers included former Mayor and Vietnam veteran Rev. Rick Taylor, who led a chant of “bring the troops home now.” The Rev. Shirley Cathie, Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs and Joan Hervey of Garden State Equality also spoke.

Vivian Robinson, an Air Force and Army Vietnam vet, wore her American Legion regalia to the rally.

Asked her opinion of the war, Robinson said, “It’s very bad. “They’re killing our soildiers every day. It’s a shame, and nothing is being done.”

She said on Oct. 25. President George Bush said he wanted to send even more troops.
Rev. Dixon called the administration “misguided” and led a prayer for the end of war “against the Iraqi people.”

Robinson-Briggs and Hervey stressed the heavy military expense and said the billions expended in Iraq would have been better spent to stop homelessness, unemployment and other problems at home.

“Quite frankly, this is a war that we don’t have any business being a part of,” the mayor said.

--Bernice Paglia


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