AT A WAR
RALLY, ECHOES OF
Hundreds of people waved American flags and cars were
parked a half-mile in every direction. "Liberate Iraq"
was the favorite placard and card tables were stacked
with inspirational articles, poems, and letters from
the Internet. A biker club showed up – I counted 75
Harley Davidson’s parked – and there were plenty of
leather chaps, vests, and biker boots in the crowd.
Lots of folks sat in folding chairs on the grass and
it felt a bit like a tailgate party. An Uncle Sam on
stilts was walking around.
The song recalled for me the high-minded rationales for the Vietnam War and how the patriotism in the early part of that war turned ultimately, for so many veterans, into bitterness and a sense of betrayal. Are we applying the right lessons from that experience to this war?
A Fox radio broadcaster was the event's emcee. A
singer from Plainview, Donna Chapel, sang the national
anthem, and then all the kids in the audience came to
front to lead the audience in reciting the Pledge of
Allegiance. A Mayo Clinic ambulance helicopter flew
overhead, in lieu of an F-15. A woman from an eagle
aviary in Wabasha, MN, on the Mississippi River,
showed a beautiful eagle to the crowd, pumping her arm
so the eagle spread its wings to an impressive four
feet across or so.
The best speech was by a local county sheriff, Terese Amazi. She said: “Many people ask me, ‘What can we do to make our neighborhoods safer?’ And my answer is, know your neighbors. Somewhere along the line we’ve gotten away from knowing our neighbors, and we’ve got to get back there.”
I wondered how far the idea of "neighbors" might expand. Could it reach all the way to Iraq?
Copyright @ 2003 The McGill Report