Locals travel to DC to lend their voice to national war protest
The Dispatch reports 57 Quad-citians to attend rally in D.C.
Great to see a piece on this story which otherwise would be expected to be ignored. Heads up reporting by the Dispatch's Kurt Allemeier on the local angle ahead of a story which will likely be national news.
DAVENPORT -- Memories of a lost brother and of a mother who lost her son are why Ruth Puck and Ann Berger boarded the bus on Friday.
The women and 55 others packed up their signs, bottled water and other provisions and left by bus Friday afternoon for the United for Peace rally in Washington, D.C., to protest the war in Iraq.
"I'm going because my brother (Chuck Slayton) was in Vietnam, and I didn't get involved back then," said Ms. Puck of Moline. "He came back and was never the same, so I thought I need to get involved now."
Ms. Berger of Davenport watched Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son, Casey Sheehan, in Iraq, become a beacon for those who opposed the war. Ms. Sheehan camped outside President George W. Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch, for several weeks, wanting to meet with the president. Ms. Sheehan will speak at today's rally.
"There are many people who feel passionate about this issue, so why not go," Ms. Berger said. "You want energy, this is it."
She wants to join others who also believe passionately that the war in Iraq is wrong. She should have plenty of company. Organizers are saying 100,000 could participate in the rally. Counter-protests by war supporters are also planned.
Many of the family and friends Ms. Puck and Ms. Berger have talked to in recent days gave their support and wished they could go, too.
"I knew a lot of people who wanted to come but because of work or family couldn't," Ms. Puck said.
"I've gotten calls of support, and they say you are going for me," Ms. Berger said.
Both women expressed surprise that more people weren't going to the rally. Cathy Bolkcom, who organized the trip, said more people were interested than seats were available. The trip cost $125 a seat.
Sue Howes, a retired Presbyterian minister from Andalusia, was staying in the Quad-Cities but said she would be there in spirit. She helped sponsor a person to go on the trip.
"I've been opposed to this war since the very beginning," Rev. Howes said. "It doesn't seem to be involved in the war on terror."
She cited recent polls that show support for the war is waning and that this weekend's rally is a start toward ending the war in Iraq.
"There are other buses from Iowa and the Midwest going," Rev. Howes said. "Polls show that 55 percent of the country opposes this war. If all 55 percent showed up, there would be an effect."
And again, it boggles my mind that ditto-heads and other very confused people feel motivated to make the effort to counter-protest AGAINST those who desire an end to hostilities and continued death, destruction, and the vast expansion of hostility towards our country.