WASHINGTON - January 17 - On January 20, during the State of the Union address, Military Families Speak Out - supported by Veterans for Peace, other peace groups and faith communities in the Washington, D.C. area - will mount a powerful, respectful remembrance of 500 American soldiers who have died in Iraq, together with penitential prayer for them and the estimated 9,000 Iraqi civilians who have died in the war and the chaos that followed.
WHO: Military Families, Veterans, Peace activists and others
WHAT: Candle light Vigil and remembrance of American and Iraqi lives lost in Iraq war
WHEN: 7:30pm - 9:30pm Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2004
WHERE: 3rd Street NW between Constitution and Independence Avenues
At last year's State of the Union President Bush deliberately frightened the American people and rushed the nation to war on the basis of these now-famous "16 words" that, at that time they were spoken, were known by the Administration to be false:
"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
Soldiers were sent to war on the basis of this lie and others told about weapons of mass destruction. American soldiers and Iraqi innocents died because of such lies.
Very soon the "official" 500th American soldier will die by hostile fire in Iraq. More than 500 have already died if accidents and suicide are counted. Credible estimates of Iraqi civilians killed are put between 8,000 and 10,000, both as a direct result of the war and because of the whirlwind of violence and insecurity that followed and continues to this day. Since the last State of the Union, our nation has been diminished by the loss of all these precious lives.
Therefore, beginning at 7:30 PM on January 20, demonstrators will form a human chain of remembrance stretching along 3rd Street NW between Constitution and Independence Avenues. Each person will bear the name of a soldier who died in Iraq and hold a candle to symbolize the light of that person's life. Along the line will be persons bearing the names of Iraqi civilians as well. We will bear witness to these lost lives as the President and VIPs pass by in their dark vehicles on the way to the Capitol.
At the very moment that President Bush begins his State of the Union speech, a banner with the "16 words" will begin a death march down the line of lights. As it moves, a drum will sound and the people will call out the name of each fallen soldier, stating their rank, full name, branch of service and age at death. Iraqi names will be remembered and called out. The candle will then be extinguished to symbolize that President Bush's words brought death to this person and cast a pall of darkness over the nation.