WASHINGTON - April 30- May 1st is the one-year anniversary of George Bush's speech declaring the end to major combat in Iraq in a carefully staged photo-op on an aircraft carrier in front of a banner declaring "Mission Accomplished". In fact, nearly as many service men and women have died in Iraq during the month of April, 2004 as died during all of "major combat" (the months of March and April, 2003). The violence continues in Iraq with no end in sight.
Military Families Speak Out and Veterans for Peace will be holding a vigil and demonstration in Washington, D.C. on May 1st to call for an end to the violence, an end to the U.S. military occupation of Iraq, and to bring the troops home now. Families and Veterans will walk to the Vietnam Memorial and leave pictures of loved ones who have died in Iraq as the result of a war based on lies.
WHEN: Saturday, May 1st at 10 a.m.
WHERE: Constitution Gardens (Constitution Avenue between 20th and 21st Streets -- near the Vietnam War Memorial).
The following military families will be available for interview before, during and after the event:
Nancy Lessin and Charley Richardson of Boston, MA, their son is a Marine in the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit who served in Iraq in spring, 2003. They are co-founders of Military Families Speak Out, which began in November, 2002 with two military families opposing a U.S. invasion of Iraq and now has 1,500 military families calling for an end to the US military occupation of Iraq and the policies that allowed it to happen.
J. Stephen Cleghorn of Washington, D.C. whose son in the Army recently returned from Iraq.
Laura Costas of Silver Spring, MD, her brother in the Army Reserves just returned from Iraq in March, 2004. He is still under a "stop-loss" order that prevents him from separating from the military.
Mildred McHugh of Pennington, NJ, her son is in the Army and is currently stationed in the Sunni Triangle.
Larry Syverson of Richmond, VA, has three sons in the military, two who served in Iraq, one of whom was due to come home in April, 2004 but has been extended in Iraq for at least 4 months.