Thursday, June 7, 2007

BELL RINGS FOR 3,503 AMERICANS KILLED IRAQ

VETERANS FOR PEACE. I was privileged to take part in a vigil and bell-tolling for the lives of 3,503 American troops that have thus far been lost in Iraq over the past four years. About 50 people gathered with the local chapter of the Veterans for Peace on Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis around 7:00 last evening.

FOR AMERICANS AND IRAQIS. The bell tolled 3,503 times for American lives lost. It tolled another 100 times for the lives of an estimated 1,000,000 Iraq lives lost--military and civilian. And it tolled once more, as organizer Harold Donle put it, to "send them all to heaven."

MORE DEATHS PER MONTH? I was asked to offer prayer as the vigil concluded in candelight around 9:30 pm. Veterans for Peace holds such vigils at the 500 mark. The last vigil, marking 3,000 American deaths, was held on New Year's eve. Organizers noted that it seemed the rate of American deaths has increased in the last twelve months.

FOUR YEARS LATER. How many more lives will be lost in this senseless debacle? I stood on these same steps at Monument Circle four years ago before the war began. Those opposed to war and offering viable alternatives gathered in protest and prayer, hoping to persuade President Bush to avert war with Iraq. I was one of several advocates asked to speak to those gathered in freezing February temperatures; my 2003 speech is online. So, it was rather sobering to stand there last night, realizing all that has transpired in four years. Very sobering.

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