Hi my name is Lietta (pronounced
Lee-etta). While I have a rich life history that makes my world-views what they are today, at this time in our current history
with the war in Iraq, I pull heavily on my focus as a military family with 2 loved ones deployed in Iraq. Both served already
in an extended 15 month tour in Iraq 2003 - 2004, and are now under orders for a re-deployment (2nd deployment) to Iraq.
Being raised a military brat, I come from a history of being
a child inside a military culture. As a young wife to a husband drafted to Vietnam, I am marked by that era in our history
as is the family we raised in the following years. Now I find that I am a mother-in-law and aunt to 2 new Iraq veterans who
will be serving yet again in the carnage and destruction that marks the war in Iraq.
My history as a professional, social worker, has taught me well
to assimilate a variety of world-views, yet it did not prepare me well enough for the divisiness we see in our popular culture
now in our country. I struggle to grasp, comprehend and understand it and am not sure I am doing such a good job in "getting
it" yet. Well, I do "get it", of course, but understand the phenomenom that has set citizen against citizen, civilian against
civilian, while the troops have devolved into a culture of their own in trying to cope with the discrepancies that have become
hallmark characteristics in the war in Iraq.
I did not live my entire adult life, raise my children in accordance
with the rules of the culture, only to find those rules of accord have been turned upside down. As a mother and grandmother,
I cannot turn away from the inheritance of the richness of this country as their rightful legacy, nor can I be idle in watching
it slip away to be replaced by whatever is morphing as our country's identity.
military family with 2 Iraq veterans; OIF March 03 - July 04 PO Box
335 Bay Center, WA, 98527 cell: 360-942-9169
I have been member of Military Families Speak Out (www.mfso.org) since October 2003. As a military family with 2 Iraq veterans representing Military Families Speak Out I am invited to guest speak at various events related to the war in Iraq. I have worked as chapter coordinator
for our Military Families Speak Out, Washington state Chapter . The two Iraq veterans in our family have served proudly, OIF March 2003 - July
2004 and yet it is not theirs or the troops service at question. What is at question are decisions made by The
Commander-in-Chief in initiating and sustaining the war in Iraq.
Chronicling my speaking out activities below in media interviews and articles I have published.
Lietta Ruger,Military Families Speak Out, speaking as lay preacher at St John's Episcopal Church, gives sermon
at her church challenging the President's war policy in Iraq. aired Oct 4, 2004, audio, video,transcript
Excerpt; St. John’s, South Bend, parishioner, Lietta Ruger, a member of Military Families Speak Out, was
interviewed by Jim Lehrer for his PBS program NewsHour. The program included a segment from a church service where Ruger,
who is in training as part of the new Total Ministry team at St. John’s, preached a sermon against the war. Ruger commented,
“I do not think at this time that our church is dealing realistically with the facts of the war in Iraq or its impact on
military families who carry the burdens in an almost isolationist atmosphere. I would like to see the Episcopal Church take
a more proactive approach on the national and global stage to call for an end to this war.”
Excerpt; But the White House does care, very much, when members of the military
and of military families start speaking out. By far the most powerful speaker at Saturday's rally was a Pacific County woman,
Lietta Ruger, who has a son-in-law and nephew about to serve their second tours of duty in Iraq. Hers is a military family;
she is middle-aged, patriotic, and able to cast the risks and costs of Iraq in starkly personal terms. In a word, she has
credibility that those of us without personal links to the struggle in Iraq do not have.
Text excerpt; Military Family Will Speak in Opposition to Iraqi War
Saturday, March 26, At 'What are the Costs of War?' conference at COCC in Bend
Lietta and Arthur Ruger are military through and through. Lietta was raised on a U.S. military base. Arthur is a Vietnam
veteran. Their son-in-law and a nephew are soon to be redeployed to Iraq. The Rugers are proud of their family's military
service, but opposed to the war. They've preached against the war in St. John's Episcopal Church in South Bend, WA, and spoken
up about the war on Jim Lehrer's PBS show "The NewsHour," and at last Saturday's peace march in Seattle.
published March 27, 2005, Bend Bulletin, Bend, Oregon
Excerpt; Washington resident and featured speaker Lietta Ruger, however, focused on the loss of life. According to The
Associated Press, 1,520 troops have died in Iraq since the beginning of the war.
Ruger herself has a son-in-law and a nephew who are deployed in Iraq.
"We need to get out, we need to get our kids safe," she said. "There is no argument (for the war) that has any value
when you look at the human cost."
Ruger said she and her husband, Arthur, are members of the regional chapter of Military Families Speak Out, a nationwide
organization of families that have loved ones in Iraq and are opposed to the war.
Arthur Ruger, who served in the Air Force in Vietnam, said every day is a trial for the families of service members.
"If your community has parents with sons, daughters, husbands in Iraq — talk to them. Help them out. Buck them
up," he said.
Holding the U.S. government accountable for a costly, messy war, Arthur Ruger said, "(is) my duty to my son (and) to
your son and daughter."
The organization, called Washington Military Families Speak Out (WMFSO) is the local branch of the larger MFSO that is
working to bring National Guard troops home in other parts of the Northwest in coordination with the efforts to help with
the fire season.
According to their Web site, the members of the group have family members involved in Iraq, including ones that were part
of the Ft. Lewis group that was attacked in December. Lietta Ruger, a senior member of the Pacific Northwest MFSO, says all
of the National Guard is needed at home.
"We have National Guard activated to a point that is beyond normal, and we have needs at the state level," Ruger said.
"The concerns go above and beyond politics."
The group has brought a resolution, which is available online, to the Governor's office with hopes to form a continuing
conversation and a formation of a task force to help. The most important part of this process is citizen involvement Ruger
said, and this is what the group is working toward at this time.
"We are optimistic and hopeful that the citizens will respond to the states needs," Ruger said. "It's not just a military
family concern, it is a state voter constituency concern."
aired April 6, 2005; audio and transcript at link. Lietta Ruger, Military Families Speak Out comments on the occasion
of Hearings by 9th District Court, in Seattle at UW, on matter of Stop Loss of Natl Guardsman Emilio Santiago.
(NOTE: Lietta and Arthur Ruger of Bay Center, WA, have a son-in-law and nephew on military duty in Iraq and are active
with the Pacific Northwest chapter of Military Families Speak Out, a nationwide anti-war group of Americans with relatives
in the armed forces. Lietta Ruger spoke at an anti-war conference in Bend March 28. Before doing so, she and her husband,
an Air Force veteran of Vietnam, were interviewed by Source Weekly News Editor H. Bruce Miller. The following is an edited
transcript of that interview.)