As President Bush calls for Americans to unite in prayer, Plowshares activists take the call a step further, quoting from the book of Isaiah to “turn swords into plowshares.”
Today is Memorial Day, the traditional holiday day to honor all US veterans.
President Bush is marking the day today by laying a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery, paying special tribute to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The U.S. military death toll so far in the invasion and occupation of Iraq is 161. That includes accidental deaths, and includes the forty deaths that have occurred since April 9, the day U.S. commanders declared Baghdad 'liberated.'
President Bush will also honor fallen soldiers at Arlington’s Tomb of the Unknowns, where President Bush will speak about the sacrifices US troops make.
President Bush himself has never served in a war. During the war in Vietnam, Bush avoided being drafted by volunteering for the Texas Air National Guard. Almost no member of Congress has a son or daughter in the military.
President Bush has also designated 11 a.m. today, in each time zone, as a time for Americans to unite in prayer. He said in a Memorial Day proclamation: “Each Memorial Day, we pray for peace throughout the world, remembering what was gained and what was lost during times of war.”
Today on Democracy Now!, we spend the hour with people who are so devout in their belief in peace that they not only pray, they act.
They are the Ploughshares activists. For years these Catholics have tried to raise awareness about the brutality of war and how specific warships, weapons, and bases are complicit in the killing of innocent civilians.
They derive their name from a line in the Book of Isaiah that calls for people to beat their swords into plowshares.
We begin with an incident that occurred only yesterday. Around 4 in the afternoon, four Catholic Workers went aboard the USS Philippine Sea during the 16th Annual Fleet Week in New York City.
During a tour of the USS Philippine Sea, the first warship to attack Afghanistan after Sept 11, they poured their blood and hammered on the missile hatches that hold Tomahawk Cruise Missiles. They held up pictures of Iraqi children who had been injured and maimed by US weapons.
All four were arrested. But they have been released and join us in our studio for this Memorial Day Special.
- Mark Colville, New Haven Catholic Worker
- Sister Susan Clarkson, Dorothy Day Catholic Worker
- Joan Gregory, 70 yrs old, Catholic Worker Farm
- Brian Buckley, Little Flower Catholic Worker