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Military Families Join Hundreds of Thousands of Anti-War Protesters Rallying in Washington

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The anti-war rally and march on Saturday drew hundreds of military families and veterans. We hear two speakers: Cindy Sheehan, whose son died in Iraq last year, and Anne Roesler, from Military Families Speak Out. [includes rush transcript]

Between100,000 and 300,0000 people took to the streets of Washington D.C. on Saturday to protest the ongoing war and occupation of Iraq. It was the largest anti-war protest in the nation’s capital since the invasion and the first in a decade that federal officials allowed to go past the White House. The day began with a rally and march and ended with 11 hours of rock, rap, folk music and speeches which lasted until early Sunday morning. Protests were also held in other U.S. cities and around the world including London, Rome, Toronto and San Francisco. The D.C. march drew veteran anti-war protestors and those who had never before attended a protest. It also drew more than 250 military families, hundreds of veterans, and even a few active-duty Army soldiers just home from overseas. We go now to some of the speeches from Saturday’s march. We begin with Cindy Sheehan, whose son Casey died in Iraq last year. Last month she helped invigorate the anti-war movement by staging a month-long vigil outside President Bush’s estate in Crawford Texas. She spoke shortly before the march began on Saturday.

  • Cindy Sheehan, Gold Star Families for Peace
  • Anne Roesler, Military Families Speak Out

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We go now to some of the speeches from Saturday’s march. We begin with Cindy Sheehan.

CINDY SHEEHAN: I can’t believe it. Everybody is coming up to me and saying, “Thank you for being here.” Thank you for being here! If it wasn’t for the thousands and thousands of people that came to Camp Casey, if it wasn’t for the millions that supported us, I would still be sitting in that ditch. But you guys got me out of the ditch. You got us to our nation’s capital. And we mean business, George Bush. And we’re going to Congress, and we’re going to ask them how many more of other people’s children are you willing to sacrifice for the lies? And we’re — I’m almost done — and we’re going to say shame on you — shame on you for giving him the authority to invade Iraq. And we’re going to say not one person should have died, not one more should die. Can you scream that to the White House? Not one more! Not one more!

AUDIENCE: Not one more! Not one more!

CINDY SHEEHAN: Not one more! Not one more!

AUDIENCE: Not one more!

CINDY SHEEHAN: Thank you. I love you.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Cindy Sheehan, mother of Casey Sheehan, who was killed in Baghdad, Sadr City, on April 4, 2004, speaking in Washington, D.C. Anne Roesler is another of the women who spoke. She is part of Bring Them Home Now!, a member of Military Families Speak Out.

ANNE ROESLER: My son is in the 82nd Airborne. He’s a Staff Sergeant, currently serving his third deployment to Iraq. He’s been in the war zone for over 500 days, and we’re still counting. Unlike those who sent our loved ones over, who get to lay and sleep in comfort in their beds at night, my son is sleeping in the sand. I lay awake at night waiting for a call from my son because I haven’t heard from him since he deployed the end of August. I lay awake praying to God that I don’t get a knock on my front door telling me that he’s no longer walking among the living.

Chaos is reigning in Iraq. My son says that every single time he goes back, the chaos is worse. He fired more rounds and killed more Iraqis in the second deployment than he did in the entire first year that he was there during the invasion, and he doesn’t want the job. He’d love to be able to give his two-week notice.

He and I were here about a year ago, when there were many fewer of you out here, and I’m so glad to see so many of you here today. We went to the Vietnam War Memorial to honor the fallen, and as he looked at the wall and read the names, I began to cry, and he put his arm around me, and he said, “Mom, I wonder how many names will be on our memorial.”

It’s so time to bring our troops home. Many, many of them don’t want to be there, and they are desperate to come home, and they want us to speak out! They cannot speak out because when they wear the uniform, their voices are silenced. My son has asked me, “Where is the media? Where are the people? Don’t they care about us?”

Our government is not going to bring them home anytime soon. It’s up to us to take our country back! It’s up to us to bring them home! It’s up to us to make sure they’re taken care of when they come home! And it’s up to us to never, ever allow our government to send our loved ones to war based on lies again! So, let’s take to the streets, let’s show the administration that they are criminals, that this war is illegal, that it is unjust, that it is immoral, that it is racist, and let’s bring our troops home! Thank you!

AMY GOODMAN: Anne Roesler of Military Families Speak Out. Her son is in the 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq.

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