FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Gold Star Mother’s Memorial Day Plea

by TIA STEELE

This Memorial Day let us remember all fallen troops by insisting that the United States no longer engage in wars of aggression. In this election year, the voters must make it abundantly clear to anyone running for office in the United States that candidates will not have their votes, funding or volunteer time if the politicians do not insist on a rapid withdrawal from Iraq and opposition to future wars of aggression.

Of the troops currently fighting in Iraq, a majority (72%) say that the U.S. should get out of Iraq within a year. A majority of the U.S. public agrees. Yet our elected officials – who are supposed to represent the people’s views – continue to vote for funding the war in Iraq and fail to speak out against aggression against Iran. On this critical issue of war or no war there is a huge disconnect between the voters and the people elected to represent them and their views.

My stepson, Lance Corporal David Michael Branning, was killed on November 12, 2004 in the assault on Fallujah. He was KIA when he and his buddy were ordered to kick in the door of a private home in that city. I imagine that in the last minutes of their lives, these two young men must have known that there might be people in that dwelling – people who were defending their home. These defenders fired on David and his fellow Marine. David was shot in the throat and the bullet exited his head; he died virtually instantly. His friend bled to death within minutes. David was 21 years old and the other young man was 20. I don’t want other families to suffer the loss and pain that my family, and others, are suffering. I don’t want other young men and women to suffer the fate of David and other Marines and soldiers ­ too many lives have already been lost.

My mission since David’s death is to do all that I can to stop the madness that is sending more innocents to their unnecessary deaths. After David was killed I quit my job to work fulltime in the peace movement. I have been privileged to work on the “Eyes Wide Open” exhibit, which includes a pair of combat boots representing each troop who has been killed, and civilian shoes representing the Iraqi casualties in this war. I do everything I can to honor David’s life as well as his death, and contribute what I can to make sure that the U.S. does not continue to perpetuate an aggressive military strategy that puts more young people, and civilians in the countries we attack, at risk. The greatest monument to David and the nearly 2,500 U. S. troops who have been killed will be an anti-war movement that is well organized enough and powerful enough to end this war and prevent future unnecessary wars.

We have unacceptable reasons for staying the course in Iraq. We must withdraw immediately. We owe it to our military people, to the people of Iraq and the United States, and to our severely damaged reputation in the world. We must retrieve and heal the soul of our country and elect only those individuals who stand for peace.

I urge all those who oppose the military occupation of Iraq and do not want to see future wars of choice to sign the “Voters Pledge” at www.VotersForPeace.US. Thirty thousand people have already signed the pledge.

Voters For Peace is a project made up of many of the major organizations in the anti-war movement: United for Peace and Justice, Peace Action, Gold Star Families for Peace, Code Pink, Democracy Rising as well as groups with broader agendas like the National Organization for Women, Progressive Democrats of America, AfterDowningStreet.com, and the American Conservative. The goal of this coalition is to build a base of anti-war voters that cannot be ignored by anyone running for office in the United States. We want millions of voters to sign the pledge and say no to pro-war candidates.

You can help right now by visiting www.VotersForPeace.US and immediately signing the Voters Pledge which states:

“I will not vote for or support any candidate for Congress or President who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq, and preventing any future war of aggression, a public position in his or her campaign.”

And after you sign it, send it to everyone you know and urge them to do the same. Together we can change the path of the United States ­ move us in a new direction, away from unnecessary wars and toward a peaceful co-existence that recognizes the precious value of every human life.

TIA STEELE is member of Gold Star Families Speak Out (GSFSO), an organization of family members of United States military killed in this war. GSFSO is a chapter within Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), a 3,000-member organization of military families opposed to the occupation of Iraq. Ms. Steele works with the American Friends Service Committee in Baltimore, MD. For more information visit http://www.mfso.org/article.php?id=524.

 

 

 

More articles by:
May 25, 2016
Eric Draitser
Obama in Hiroshima: A Case Study in Hypocrisy
Ryan Mallett-Outtrim
Does Venezuela’s Crisis Prove Socialism Doesn’t Work?
Dan Arel
The Socialist Revolution Beyond Sanders and the Democratic Party
Marc Estrin
Cocky-Doody Politics and World Affairs
Sam Husseini
Layers of Islamophobia: Do Liberals Care That Hillary Returned “Muslim Money”?
Susan Babbitt
Invisible in Life, Invisible in Death: How Information Becomes Useless
Mel Gurtov
Hillary’s Cowgirl Diplomacy?
Kathy Kelly
Hammering for Peace
Dick Reavis
The Impeachment of Donald Trump
Wahid Azal
Behind the Politics of a Current Brouhaha in Iran: an Ex-President Ayatollah’s Daughter and the Baha’is
Jesse Jackson
Obama Must Recommit to Eliminating Nuclear Arms
Colin Todhunter
From the Green Revolution to GMOs: Living in the Shadow of Global Agribusiness
Binoy Kampmark
Turkey as Terror: the Role of Ankara in the Brexit Referendum
Dave Lindorff
72-Year-Old Fringe Left Candidate Wins Presidency in Austrian Run-Off Election
May 24, 2016
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
The Financial Invasion of Greece
Jonathan Cook
Religious Zealots Ready for Takeover of Israeli Army
Ted Rall
Why I Am #NeverHillary
Mari Jo Buhle – Paul Buhle
Television Meets History
Robert Hunziker
Troika Heat-Seeking Missile Destroys Greece
Judy Gumbo
May Day Road Trip: 1968 – 2016
Colin Todhunter
Cheerleader for US Aggression, Pushing the World to the Nuclear Brink
Jeremy Brecher
This is What Insurgency Looks Like
Jonathan Latham
Unsafe at Any Dose: Chemical Safety Failures from DDT to Glyphosate to BPA
Binoy Kampmark
Suing Russia: Litigating over MH17
Dave Lindorff
Europe, the US and the Politics of Pissing and Being Pissed
Matt Peppe
Cashing In at the Race Track While Facing Charges of “Abusive” Lending Practices
Gilbert Mercier
If Bernie Sanders Is Real, He Will Run as an Independent
Peter Bohmer
A Year Later! The Struggle for Justice Continues!
Dave Welsh
Police Chief Fired in Victory for the Frisco 500
May 23, 2016
Conn Hallinan
European Union: a House Divided
Paul Buhle
Labor’s Sell-Out and the Sanders Campaign
Uri Avnery
Israeli Weimar: It Can Happen Here
John Stauber
Why Bernie was Busted From the Beginning
James Bovard
Obama’s Biggest Corruption Charade
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
Indian Point Nuclear Plant: It Doesn’t Take a Meltdown to Harm Local Residents
Desiree Hellegers
“Energy Without Injury”: From Redwood Summer to Break Free via Occupy Wall Street
Lawrence Davidson
The Unraveling of Zionism?
Patrick Cockburn
Why Visa Waivers are Dangerous for Turks
Robert Koehler
Rethinking Criminal Justice
Lawrence Wittner
The Return of Democratic Socialism
Ha-Joon Chang
What Britain Forgot: Making Things Matters
John V. Walsh
Only Donald Trump Raises Five “Fundamental and Urgent” Foreign Policy Questions: Stephen F. Cohen Bemoans MSM’s Dismissal of Trump’s Queries
Andrew Stewart
The Occupation of the American Mind: a Film That Palestinians Deserve
Nyla Ali Khan
The Vulnerable Repositories of Honor in Kashmir
Weekend Edition
May 20, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Hillary Clinton and Political Violence
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail