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Monday, May 27, 2013

  • Memorial Day Special: U.S. Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan Return War Medals at NATO Summit

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    Democracy Now! returns to Chicago, site of the largest NATO summit in the organization’s six-decade history, where nearly 50 veterans discarded their war medals by hurling them down the street in the direction of the NATO summit. We hear the soldiers’ voices as they return their medals one by one from the stage. "I’m here to return my Global War on Terror Service Medal in solidarity with the people of Iraq and the people of Afghanistan," said Jason Hurd, a former combat medic who spent 10 years in the U.S. Army. "I am deeply sorry for the destruction that we have caused in those countries and around the globe." Scott Kimball, an Iraq war veteran, adds: "For all the servicemembers and veterans who are against these wars, you are not alone!" Click here to see the other parts of the 2013 Memorial Day Special: 2, 3, 4, 5.

  • Mother of Iraq Veteran Who Committed Suicide: "Honor the Dead, Heal the Wounded, Stop the Wars"

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    On a makeshift stage outside the NATO summit in Chicago, antiwar veterans fold an American flag that flew over NATO operations from Bosnia to Libya and which represents the flag that is “draped over the coffins of thousands of Americans killed in combat and thousands more who have committed suicide after they returned from service." They present the flag to Mary Kirkland, mother of Derrick Kirkland, who joined the military in 2007 and committed suicide in March 2010 after his second tour of duty in Iraq. "I am not ashamed that I have to tell people that my son committed suicide. I am ashamed of the military for failing to give him proper mental health treatment," Kirkland says. The military originally reported that her son was killed in action. Click here to see the other parts of the 2013 Memorial Day Special: 1, 3, 4, 5.

  • Scott Olsen, U.S. Vet Who Nearly Lost Life at Occupy Protest, Brings Antiwar Message to NATO Summit

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    We’re joined at the NATO summit in Chicago by Scott Olsen, who survived two tours in Iraq but almost died when he was hit with a police projectile at an Occupy Oakland protest last year. Olsen returned four of his medals at Sunday’s antiwar march. When asked why he’s joined the Occupy movement and is protesting against the heavily policed NATO summit, Olsen says, "I’m going to make every effort I can to show them that we’re doing the right thing, we’re in the right, and no matter what they do to any of us, we’ve got each other’s backs, and we’re going forward." Click here to see the other parts of the 2013 Memorial Day Special: 1, 2, 4, 5.

  • U.S. Army Vets Join with Afghans for Peace to Lead Antiwar March at Chicago NATO Summit

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    The antiwar march at the NATO summit on May 20, 2012, in Chicago was jointly led by members of Afghans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). "We’re here to protest NATO and call on all NATO representatives to end this inhumane, illegal, barbaric war against our home country and our people," says Suraia Sahar, a member of Afghans for Peace, who marched alongside Afghan war veteran Graham Clumpner during the anti-NATO protest in Chicago. "I feel honored standing next to this veteran, Graham, because they’re now, I believe, in my opinion, doing the right thing in speaking out against the occupation and war alongside us today." Clumpner says, "I reject any affiliation with this war." Click here to see the other parts of the 2013 Memorial Day Special: 1, 2, 3, 5.

  • "Hero of War"–Rise Against Song Captures Iraq War Veteran’s Tragic Experience

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    We conclude Democracy Now!'s 2013 Memorial Day special with the video for the song, "Hero of War," by Rise Against. The Chicago-based punk band's Tim McIlrath sang the antiwar song for protesters outside the NATO Summit in Chicago earlier this month. It tells the story of an Iraq war veteran reflecting on his experiences while serving in the military. "I kicked in the door, I yelled my commands. The children, they cried, but I got my man. We took him away, a bag over his face, from his family and his friends," McIlrath sings. The video for the song has been viewed more than 13 million times online. Click here to see the other parts of the 2013 Memorial Day Special: 1, 2, 3, 4.

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