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Editor's note: Hart Viges was on the Central Bus Tour with Lietta Ruger.


'You Can't Wash Your Hands When They're Covered in Blood'

Hart Viges, The Independent

September 24, 2005

My name is Hart Viges. September 11 happened. Next day I was in the recruiting office. I thought that was the way I could make a difference in the world for the better.

So I went to infantry school and jump school and I arrived with my unit of the 82nd Airborne Division. I was deployed to Kuwait in February 2003. We drove into Iraq because Third Infantry Division was ahead of schedule, and so I didn't need to jump into Baghdad airport.

As we drove into Samawa to secure their supplies my mortar platoon dropped numerous rounds on this town. I watched Kiowa attack helicopters fire Hellfire missile after Hellfire missile. I saw a C130 Spectre gunship ... it will level a town. It had belt-fed artillery rounds pounding with these super-Gatling guns.

I don't know how many innocents I killed with my mortar rounds. I have my imagination to pick at for that one. But I clearly remember the call-out over the radio saying "Green light on all taxi-cabs. The enemy is using them for transportation".

One of our snipers called back on the radio saying "Excuse me but did I hear that order correctly? Green light on all taxi cabs?" "Roger that soldier. You'd better start buckling up." All of a sudden the city just blew up. Didn't matter if there was an innocent in the taxi-cab - we laid a mortar round on it, snipers opened up.

Next was Fallujah. We went in without a shot. But Charlie Company decided they were going to take over a school for the area of operations. Protesters would come saying "Please get out of our school. Our children need this school. We need education".

They turned them down. They came back, about 40 to 50 people. Some have the bright idea of shooting AK-47s up in the air. Well a couple of rounds fell into the school ... They laid waste to that group of people.

Then we went to Baghdad. And I had days that I don't want to remember. I try to forget. Days where we'd take contractors out to a water treatment plant outside of Baghdad.

We'd catched word that this is a kind of a scary place but when I arrive there's grass and palm trees, a river. It's the first beautiful place that seemed untouched by the war in Iraq. As we leave, RPGs come flying at us. Two men with RPGs ran up in front of us from across the road.

"Drop your weapons". "Irmie salahak." They're grabbing on to women and kids so [we] don't fire. I can't take any more and swing my [gun] over. My sight's on his chest, my finger's on the trigger. And I'm trained to kill but this is no bogey man, this is no enemy. This is a human being. With the same fears and doubts and worries. The same messed-up situation.

I don't pull the trigger this time ... it throws me off. It's like they didn't tell me about this emotional attachment to killing. They tried to numb me, they tried to strip my humanity. They tried to tell me that's not a human being - that's a soft target.

So now, my imagination is running ... What if he pulled his trigger? How many American soldiers or Iraqi police, how many families destroyed because I didn't pull my trigger. After we leave this little village we get attack helicopters, Apaches, two Bradley fighting vehicles, and we go back. And we start asking questions. Where are they? Eventually they lead us to this hut where this family is living, and myself and [another soldier] started searching for AK47s, for explosives, for RPGs, you know ... evidence. And all I can find is a tiny little pistol, probably to scare off thieves

Well because of that pistol we took their two young men ... Their mother is at my feet trying to kiss my feet like I deserve my feet to be kissed. Screaming, pleading. I don't need to speak Arabic to know love and concern and fear. I had my attack helicopter behind me, my Bradley fighting vehicle, my armor, my M4 [semi-automatic] with laser sight. I'm an 82nd Airborne killer. But I was powerless ... to ease this woman's pain.

After I came home I applied for conscientious objector [status]. I'm a Christian, what was I doing holding a gun to another human being? Love thy neighbor. Pray for those who persecute you, don't shoot them.

I get my conscientious objector packet approved. I'm free. It's all gone now, right? No! I still swerve at trash bags ... fireworks ... I can't express anything. All my relationships are falling apart because they can't fucking understand me. How do they know the pain I've gone through or the sights I've seen? The innocence gone, stripped, dead? I couldn't stand the pain. People were leaving me.

I couldn't cut my wrists. So I called the police. They come stomping through my door. I have my knife in my hand. "Shoot me." All of a sudden I was the man with the RPG, with all the guns pointed at him, thinking "Yes, we can solve the world's problems by killing each other". How insane is that? Lucky I lived through that episode. See, you can't wash your hands when they're covered in blood. The wounds carry on. This is what war does to your soul, to your humanity, to your family.

Bring Them Home Now Tour From Camp Casey, Crawford to Washington DC

Map of 'Bring Them Home Now' bus tour routes

Full schedule of stops, in what towns and cities on what dates

From George Bush’s door step to Communities along the way, We Demand That:

 * Elected Representatives Decide Now to Bring the Troops Home

* We Take Care of Them When They Get Here

* We Never Again Send Our Loved Ones to War Based on Lies!

We are currently at a significant turning point in how the American public views the war in Iraq. As the death toll in Iraq rises, Cindy Sheehan’s vigil near President Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, has captured the hearts and minds of thousands of Americans. Bush’s approval rating is falling.

The voice of military families, who have lost loved ones and those with loved ones in harm’s way or about to deploy, can activate the American people. The voice of veterans, both of this war and of previous wars will also build the movement to end the war.

Together these critical voices can demand that President Bush make the decision now to bring the troops home. On August 31st, the last day of the encampment, the Bring Them Home Now Tour will launch three buses from Crawford, Texas, each carrying military and Gold Star families, veterans of the Iraq War and veterans of previous wars.

These buses will travel different routes across the country, converging in Washington, DC on September 21, for the United for Peace and Justice Mobilization September 24th-26th.

The tour will amplify the voice of Gold Star families, who show the devastating human cost of this war; the voice of military families, for whom each and every day that this war continues brings the potential for the most devastating of consequences; and the voice of veterans, who can share the ground truth about war and the impact on those who were sent off to fight it.

Over the course of the tour, members of the sponsoring organizations will reach out to military families, veterans, and concerned citizens in cities and towns in the heartland, the north, and the south. The Tour will spread the truth about the war in Iraq, mobilize people to Washington DC for September 24-26th and ask Congressional decision-makers the hard questions Cindy has asked President Bush and to learn what our elected representatives are doing to bring this war to an end.

The Bring Them Home Now Tour is sponsored by Gold Star Families for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, Veterans For Peace and Bring Them Home Now.

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Anti-war bus tour stops here

'Bring Them Home Now' event attended by 100

The national bus tour sparked by Cindy Sheehan's monthlong protest against the Iraq war outside President Bush's Texas ranch rolled into Cincinnati on Wednesday on its way to Washington.

About 100 Cincinnati-area residents - opponents of the war - filled the Catholic Center at St. Monica-St. George Church in University Heights on Wednesday night to cheer on the eight protestors. Attending were Iraq veterans, parents of troops killed in Iraq and peace activists supporting the group as it makes its way to a protest in the nation's capital Sept. 24.

"Our commander-in-chief has abandoned his responsibility to the troops serving over there," said Lietta Ruger of Bay Center, Wash., whose son-in-law and nephew serve in the 1st Armored Division and have served 15-month tours of duty in Iraq. "Now it is our job to bring them home."

Three buses left Crawford, Texas, bound for Washington on Aug. 31, in a high-visibility rolling protest sponsored by Gold Star Families for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out and Veterans for Peace.

On the bus that reached Cincinnati early Wednesday evening was Bill Mitchell of Atascadero, Calif., whose 25-year-old son, Sgt. Michael Mitchell, was killed in action April 4, 2004, in the same firefight in which Sheehan lost her son Casey.

The Sheehan and Mitchell families have since become friends.

"But the truth is, I wish we had never had to meet," said Mitchell.

The bus tour that came to Cincinnati was the outgrowth of "Camp Casey," the encampment near President Bush's Crawford ranch where Americans opposed to the war gathered to join the protest of Sheehan.

Sheehan was not on the bus that came to Cincinnati. That bus was delayed in getting to Cincinnati when it was involved in a minor traffic accident Wednesday afternoon in Indiana.

Deb Hagerman and Beth Lerman, both of Dayton, Ohio, waited for the bus to arrive at Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church on Wednesday afternoon and attended the rally Wednesday night at nearby St. Monica-St. George. Hagerman's husband is a Seabee who has served and may return; Lerman has a son and daughter-in-law in the armed forces who have yet to go to Iraq.

Both women spent five days at Camp Casey last month with Sheehan and other protestors.

"It was an unforgettable experience for those of us who were there," said Lerman. "And there is no telling how many thousands of people it inspired across the country. I was proud to be a part of it."

But many military families do not agree that the war in Iraq has gone on too long or that the sacrifice has not been worthwhile.

While the "Bring Them Home Now" bus was making its way toward Cincinnati, the three sisters of a Clermont County soldier killed last year in Iraq stood on Veterans' Plaza in downtown Columbus on Wednesday to show their support for the war.

"Troops need to see us standing strong," said Denise Grannen, 46, of Anderson Township, the oldest sister of Army Sgt. Chuck Kiser, the Amelia high school graduate killed last year in Iraq. "They are fighting for our security, of our children and our grandchildren."

The Kiser sisters were joined by several parents of active duty troops for a press conference that presented a much different message than the one being carried across the country by Sheehan's supporters.

The youngest sister, 40-year-old Joy Kiser of Anderson Township, said her family disagrees with Sheehan.

"Every one of them are heroes," Kiser said. "Many have made the ultimate sacrifice as our brother did. We are thankful for all of them."

The support-the-troops rally held Wednesday in Columbus was the first of 30 planned nationwide in 27 days as part of Operation Iraqi Hope.

At the "Bring them Home Now" event, Hagerman said that, while she understood the feelings of families like the Kisers and others who support President Bush's war effort, she believes the time has come for the deaths of young Americans to stop.

"Having more deaths does nothing to honor the people who have already died," Hagerman said.

Jon Craig contributed to this report. E-mail hwilkinson@enquirer.com

September 3 , 2005

From Camp Casey to DC . . .

Instead of posing for photo ops on his bicycle or cutting brush, George Bush spent his Crawford vacation hiding from Cindy Sheehan. A growing crew of Gold Star mothers and military families and veterans showed up at Camp Casey (named for Cindy's son, killed in Iraq) to cover her back. Now camp has been struck and they are on the bus!

The Bring Them Home Now Bus Tour has three buses criss-crossing America, headed for Washington DC. There, on September 24, they will join hundreds of thousands of other angry and determined people demanding: End The Occupation! Bring Them Home Now!

Check out the special BTHN Tour website with information and the routes the buses will take.

posted 03 september 2005

September 2 , 2005


Camp Casey, the close-knit community that grew up in Crawford,Texas outside of George Bush's ranch as Cindy Sheehan faced him down last month, closed August 30. But the departing participants have become Johnny Appleseeds for new organizing.

Some veterans and military families got directly on the three buses of the Bring Them Home Now Tour, currently criss-crossing America, headed for Washington DC. There, on September 24, they will join hundreds of thousands of other angry and determined people demanding: End The Occupation! Bring Them Home Now! (Tour routes & info: <http://www.bringthemhomenowtour.org/>)

In Texas, folks from the Crawford Peace House --the local institution which hosted Cindy and anchored Camp Casey-- are sorting and packing what's left of the supplies which donors provided last month. They have run three van loads with dry goods and hundreds of cases of water into Waco, the nearest dispersion point for refugees from Louisiana.

And a crew of Veterans For Peace members and supporters loaded VFP Chapter 116's bus with supplies from Crawford and headed into the disaster zone. Linked up with folks from the Louisiana Activist Network, they got as far as Covington, LA just North of Lake Pontchartrain. There, they set up a new Camp Casey, with the informal slogan Same Camp, Different Ditch. They report, "We are here, CAMP CASEY is alive, the food is cooking, and we are handing out supplies to the citizens of the community. We need help. Louisiana Activist Network and the VFP Chapter 116 are the only ones here in Covington."

If you live within traveling distance of Covington, and can help, they are in Reverend Peter Atkins Park at the corner of 28th and Tyler. Desperately needed supplies include: Chest with Ice, Baby supplies, Canned Foods, Water, Gasoline, Additional Generators, Shelter, Flashlights,Batteries, Portable toilets

August 31 , 2005


With many experts calling Hurricane Katrina "the worst natural disaster in US history," millions of residents of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama are in desperate need as the catastrophe deepens. Where is the National Guard, historically the shock troops who respond overnight to natural disasters and provide the backbone of relief efforts until recovery is underway? We all know the answer. Too many of them are in Iraq, cannon fodder in an unjust and unjustifiable occupation.

The National Guard and the Bush administration have spin doctors working overtime to paint a happy face on the situation, with press conferences and press releases talking about how they've got more than enough men and women to throw into the breach. Do a Google search for "National Guard" and "Katrina" and you will find dozens of stories with headlines like "National Guard: Enough GIs for Storm Duty."

The real deal is very different.

In early June, well before the hurricane season began, Guard officials knew they were in trouble. The Washinton Post reported then:

In Mississippi, the unit designated as "first responders" to repair hurricane damage, the 223rd Engineer Battalion, was deployed for the past year to Iraq. It has come home, said Maj. Gen. Harold A. Cross. But, he added, "they left the equipment in Iraq." He has been told that by hurricane season he will be given the gear belonging to another unit being deployed. He also noted that he has sent 21 helicopters to Iraq, leaving just five for post-storm rescues and transport of cargo and troops.

Today, 40% of the Mississippi Guard, 3,500 troops, are stationed in Baghdad. Over a quarter of the Alabama and Louisiana Guard are "in country" as well., These percentages are fudged already--the Alabama Army National Guard's roster of 11,000 is already 22% below what it is supposed to be. This is simply the local reflection of a nationwide recruitment and retention crisis in the Guard highlighted by the failure of recruiters to meet their goals for at least the last nine months running.

Furthermore the units most likely to be deployed in Iraq are exactly the ones trained in the skills most needed in the stricken areas right now, like military police, engineers, transport crews and heavy equipment operators and mechanics

Gulf Coast shortages are being hastily filled in by Guard units from around the country, who don't have the same local knowledge. A local news story from Normal, IL, reports on an Illinois State student who was told to report--with rain gear--for what may be a months-long deployment. Galen Parks says he's somewhat surprised a Guard unit from Illinois was being called up for the damage primarily in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama.

More information about how badly the occupation has hurt the National Guard's ability to respond to the Katrina crisis will doubtless start coming out in the next few days, as the extent of the disaster becomes clearer. Guard troops in Iraq helplessly watching their hometowns savaged and flooded by the storm half a world away will speak up.

And articles like this one will be accused of "politicizing a national tragedy." But It is the politicians responsible for the occupation of Iraq who have compounded the disaster, not us. It is Bush and company who sent troops and equipment now desperately needed in Katrina's wake into harm's way on the other side of he globe..We say: Bring Them Home Now!

posted 31 august 2005

August 27 , 2005

in English y Español

By Fernando Suarez del Solar

To the President of the United States

I write to you in order to call your attention to the current situation in our nation. Because of the immoral and criminal war you initiated against the innocent people of Iraq, the nation is divided. We can all support efforts to vigorously resist international terrorism because no one has the right to take the life of another in the name of some "freedom." Through a series of lies you involved us in a war whose primary justifications--WMDs, a connection between Iraq and the attacks of September 11, 2001, biological weapons--you have been unable to sustain over the last thirty months during which more than 1800 brave and noble U.S. soldiers have died (among them my beloved son Jesús Alberto) and thousands of Iraqi children, women, and old men have been killed.

I remember well when in May of 2003 you stood on an aircraft carrier dressed as a pilot in our glorious airforce. It was the end of major combat operations in Iraq and the banner read "Mission Accomplished." But just yesterday you had to repeat the same rhetoric and said "We will stay in Iraq until we accomplish the mission." Didn't you tell us that the mission was accomplished? Then why are we still in Iraq? Why have more than 1800 soldiers of our glorious armed forces had to die?

Today, outside the confines of your ranch in Texas, a mother like more than 1800 other mothers sits and demands that you, the president of all Americans, face us and personally explain to us why our children have died. You do not have the moral and civil courage to face our tears but you have the nerve to continue to send more young people to either kill or be killed in Iraq.

I ask you, Mr Bush, if you believe that this war is for "Our Freedom" and "Our Values" why don't you send your daughters to fight for freedom? Why don't your closest associates send their children to defend these values? Why are the children of immigrant families dying? Why are children from working families who are the least privileged dying? Why Mr Bush? Why?

Why don't you admit once and for all that you lied? You lied to the American people and to the world when you invaded Iraq because of their WMD. If you accept that you lied, you will save many innocent lives by ending the war you started. Or are you incapable of showing us the slightest human quality of humility and decency?

Cindy Sheehan is all of us. She is our representative but across the United States there are more than 1800 faces like hers who wait to meet you and receive your apology and your heartfelt explanation. Do you have the moral courage to do it? Or will you continue to send more young men and women to die for your vested interests? How much longer will you continue to massacre innocent Iraqis?

When you will stop your crimes, Mr Bush? When?

Can you sleep with so many innocent lives on your conscience? Can you face your own daughters? I hope that God forgives your crimes against humanity and that someday you find respite from the grave crimes for which you are responsible.

Awaiting your reply not to me but to all the victims' families.

Carta al Sr. Bush.

Sr. Presidente de los Estados Unidos de Norte América, Presente.

Por medio de este medio quiero llamar su atención sobre la situación que actualmente estamos viviendo en nuestros país, situación de divisiones entre la población y todo esto gracias a la guerra inmoral y criminal que usted inicio contra el pueblo inocente de Irak, una cosa es el ataque frontal contra el terrorismo internacional, lo cual definitivamente apoyo, ya que nadie, NADIE tiene derecho de quitar la vida a otros en nombre de una "Libertad " y usted de una forma por demás mentirosa nos involucra en un guerra donde sus principales razones,"Armas de destrucción masiva" "relación de Irak con Sep. 11" "Armas químicas" no las ha podido sustentar a lo largo de estos largos 29 meses, en los cuales han muerto mas de 1800 valientes y valiosos soldados Norte Americanos,entre ellos mi amado hijo Jesús Alberto., y cientos de miles de niños,mujeres y ancianos Iraquies., recuerdo muy bien cuando el Primero de Mayo del 2003 usted se monta en un portaaviones y anuncia vestido de aviador de nuestra gloriosa fuerza área, el termino de las operaciones militares en Irak y dice,textualmente, "Misión Cumplida". mas sin embargo, en este año, usted repite su retorico discurso y anuncia que "Continuaremos en Irak hasta el cumplimiento de nuestra Misión" entonces? no según usted esa misión ya estaba cumplida? por que entonces continuamos en ese país? por que han tenido que morir mas de 1800 soldados de nuestro glorioso ejercito?

Y hoy, a las afueras de su rancho en el estado de Texas, una madre, como hay mas de 1800, se le planta y demanda que usted, si usted, el presidente de todos los Americanos, nos de la cara y personalmente nos explique por que motivos han muerto nuestros hijos? no tiene usted el valor moral ni civil de enfrentar las lágrimas de nosotros los padres,pero si tiene el valor; que le da su investidura de continuar mandando cada día mas y mas jóvenes a morir o matar a Irak, le pregunto yo,Sr. Bush, porque ,si tanto piensa usted que esta guerra es por "Nuestra Libertad" y "Nuestros valores", porque no manda a sus hijas a combatir en el nombre de esa "Libertad" porque no están los hijos e hijas de sus colaboradores mas cercanos defendiendo esos ideales que usted tanto pregona? porque solamente están muriendo los hijos de nosotros lo emigrantes? los hijos de las clases trabajadoras que son las mas desprotegidas? por que Sr. Bush? Por que?

Porque no Acepta usted, de una ves por todas, que mintió, que mintió al pueblo Americano, que mintió al mundo entero al declarar la guerra contra Irak por las supuestas Armas? y asi, al aceptar usted su mentira criminal,salvara muchas vidas inocentes al poner termino a la criminal guerra que usted nos involucro, o sera que su calidad de ser humano no le alcanza a tener un gesto de humildad y decencia para con nosotros ?

Cindy Sheehan es nuestro rostro allá en Texas, es la portavoz ,pero en toda la unión americana hay mas de 1800 rostros que están esperando ver el suyo frente a frente y recibir una disculpa, una explicación valiente y honrada, tendrá usted el valor moral de hacerlo?

Continuara usted mandando mas y mas jóvenes a morir por sus sucios intereses capitalistas? continuara usted masacrando a un pueblo inocente?

Hasta cuándo parara usted de sus crímenes Sr.. Bush? Hasta cuándo?

Puede usted dormir tranquilo teniendo en su conciencia las muertes de tantos inocentes? puede ver usted de frente a sus hijas? espero que dios le perdone sus crimenes contra la humanidad y que algun dia encuentyre usted el descanso que no ha de tener hoy gracias a sus horrendos crimenes.

En espera de su respuesta, no a mi, sino a nosotros las familias de sus victimas.
Que dios les bendiga.
Fam. Suarez del Solar.
Jesus Alberto Suarez del Solar Navarro Lance Corporal USMC
1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division

Philadelphia greets ‘Bring Them Home Now’ tour
Author: Rosita Johnson
People's Weekly World Newspaper, 09/22/05 12:14
PHILADELPHIA — On Independence Mall, across the street from the Liberty Bell, over 500 supporters rallied Sept. 16 to welcome Gold Star mother Cindy Sheehan and the “Bring Them Home Now” bus tour. The tour was making its way toward the national antiwar rally and march set for Sept. 24 in Washington.
Sheehan and others spent 26 days protesting the war in Crawford, Texas, near President Bush’s home, and the three legs of the bus tour, which began Aug. 31, have covered 51 cities in 28 states.
Sheehan said that after her son Casey was killed in Iraq in 2004, she initially thought that one person couldn’t make a difference in trying to stop the war. “But I decided to do the best I could to bring peace and justice to this world,” she said. “I wanted to be able to look at myself in the mirror.”
Sheehan has since criss-crossed the country with her message to bring all U.S. troops home now. She said the terrible devastation of Hurricane Katrina was compounded by a man-made tragedy that stemmed from the Bush administration’s “criminal negligence” of domestic needs. “Katrina has proven that Bush’s insane policies have made our country more vulnerable,” she said.
John Grant, president of Veterans For Peace in Philadelphia, credited Sheehan with putting a face on the conversation about the war in Iraq. She keeps asking, he said, “Why did my son die? For what noble cause did my son die?”
Angel Ortiz, a former councilman, was applauded when he called Bush “an emperor” and led a chant, “Impeach Bush,” while Rep. Chaka Fatah (D-Pa.) thanked Sheehan and the tour for “waking people up” and making a difference. Also on hand was Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, who announced that the City Council had just passed a resolution calling for the orderly and rapid withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
The vote for the resolution was 16-1.
A copy of the resolution was presented to Celeste Zappala, a Philadelphian and co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace. Zappala’s son, Army Sgt. Sherwood Baker, was killed in Iraq last year. Zappala asked the crowd to make a promise not to be quiet about the 1,899 GIs killed in Iraq and to work to stop the war.
Thomas Paine Cronin, president of District Council 47 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, said the AFL-CIO convention passed a resolution against the war in July, and noted that the Philadelphia Central Labor Council had spoken out against the war even earlier. He said it was time to end “a war based on lies and a war that is draining our resources from helping our own people here.”
Cronin denounced the billions of dollars going to Halliburton and other “corporate cronies” of the Bush administration, both in Iraq and in the reconstruction effort in New Orleans. He presented Sheehan with a plaque honoring her for her efforts.
Other speakers included relatives of Iraq war soldiers, such as Beatriz Saldivar, of Fort Worth, Texas, who showed a photo of her nephew Sgt. Daniel Torres. He was killed in Iraq on his second tour of duty in February. “He will never see his baby, due to be born this week,” said Saldivar. Many in the audience clearly empathized with her grief.
The rally themes were reflected in the songs, poetry, banners and signs, which included slogans like “Bush lied, thousands died,” “End the war — Bring the troops home alive!”
Other tour-related events in Philadelphia included an ecumenical service at First United Methodist Church of Germantown to honor those who died in Iraq, a meeting with labor leaders, and a “Camp Gold Star” vigil in the park.
phillyrose1 @ earthlink.net

Received this today via our MFSO Pac NW email address. Lietta said she's been handing out our cards. Nothing from Lietta nor me today could ever match what this says.


I am a mother of a 19 year old 3/25 Lima Co. Marine serving in Iraq. One third of his Unit has been kia or injured. In early August after losing 22 Marines in less than a week, fearing for my son's life and driven by conviction, I began my journey to change the direction our country has been going.

I have been waiting for my son's safe return before speaking out publicly. There is such confusion in our country about patriotism and supporting our troops while being against the war.

I stood at a Marine Family Meeting and told the Major and those present that it was time to bring the Ohio Marines home. I shouted out," My son is not expendable." I wrote to my senators asking for their help. I received no response. I refused to be powerless. I began thinking that Mothers had to win our country back and was planning to organize a Mother's March on Washington.

I found the web site, www.truthout.org. Here I found Camp Casey, Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace, Iraqi Vets Against the War etc. I had never heard of any of these people. I found that there already was a huge march planned for September 24th. WOW! GREAT! I didn't have to take on the huge task of planning a march. Phew! I just had to go!

And this tells me there is a larger movement ... that is in our bones and is beginning to surface.

I wanted to go to Camp Casey but couldn't because of scheduled meetings with the Marines to prepare for the homecoming of our boys. I saw the central Bring Them Home Now Tour plans to DC and realized I could caravan with them to Columbus, Toledo and Cleveland and maybe Pittsburgh!

I contacted a Cincinnati center to see if we could get them to stop in Cincinnati.. So, my tour began in Cincinnati. I offered housing and breakfast.

it was great to meet them. They are "my kind of people." They are not off the wall, emotional fanatics. They are normal citizens willing to take risks as they speak out from their own experience and knowledge and with integrity against an incredible, illegal and disastrous war. They are compassionate people who suffer the loss of their beloved and they ask why? And they work hard to restore humanity, dignity and respect to our country. And they demand accountability and challenge our leadership to step up to the plate or get out of the way.

I was able to speak at the forums in Columbus and Cleveland. I spoke as a mother who watched five mothers bury their sons in the Cincinnati area in August. I shared the terror that I live with. The sleepless nights. The days and nights of anguish. "How desperately I want my son to live and have hope. He is so young, so idealistic, so confident, so trusting."

I was able to visit the offices of the senators who still had not responded to my letters. With others from the Tour we spoke of the many issues involved with this war ... depleted uranium, stop-loss, inadequate equipment, not enough men, operatives and the lies and deceit that led the American people into it.

We asked the aides, after we broke through the shell that tells you to "make it quick, I am busy and really don't want to listen to you" to ask the Senators what they want their legacy to be. We asked them to tell the Senators to look again at the war and why we are there. Not with their jobs in mind or their political party, but to look with their human heart and their conscience. We told them if they see the truth and act from the truth&#8230;good will follow.

We participated in rallies and visited with many Americans who are sick of this war and the lies that keep us there and the dishonor it has brought to our country. We met enraged Americans.

There is much more to say about this BTHN Tour. It is an important moment. And the March September 24th will be historical.

I am convinced that out country is at a historical turning point&#8230; " and the people will lead."

I said to my son, "Mike, you have no idea how precious you are to me and dad, your brother and sister."

" I know"

"We will not let you get away so easily again."

"I know you won't!"

"Mike, I am not afraid of the Marines. I am not afraid of the Government, and I am not afraid of the President. I am your Mom!"

Chuckling ... "I love you, Mom."

I will work so Mike and other sons will not have their generosity, their courage, their integrity, their desire to serve, their desire to make a difference compromised. I want my son to always be proud that he is a Marine.

Peggy Logue

"It's time to punch the clock ... the Battle for America has begun"

Click on link above for an excellent 4 minutes of getting your patriotic fire relit.