What's In A Name

The following address was given to over 4,000 peace activists in Kennebunkport , Maine on August 25, 2007:

Members of Military Families Speak Out are necessarily focused on names. Have you ever attended a peace vigil where the names of the dead, Americans and Iraqis in pairs, are read? It takes twelve hours to read those names now, nearly 8,000 names.

What's in a name? Alex Arredondo, Sherwood Baker, Casey Sheehan, Matthew Henderson, Christopher Gelineau. They all died young in Iraq.

What's in a name?

Brian Clement, of Maine was discharged with night blindness a day before being scheduled to be sent back to Iraq. He vowed not to return. He will return to the University of Maine and to a future.

Parry O'Brien, of Maine was an Army medic who was discharged as a conscientious objector and has been a leader in Iraq Veterans Against The War.

What's in a name? Jeffrey Lucey, of Belchertown , Massachusetts came back from Iraq and committed suicide in his parents' home after being refused treatment by the Veterans Administration for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Lt. Ehren Watada of Hawaii was tried by the US Army for refusing to be deployed to what he considered to be an illegal war on Iraq. The military judge ruled there was a mistrial. Ehren Watada's double jeopardy trial is scheduled for October after a long postponement.

What's in a name? Ben Kamilewicz. That's my son's name. He spent 11 months of Hell in Ramadi, Iraq. He came home over a year ago suffering with four herniated disks in his back and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after being blown up multiple times. He still suffers.

Chris Chapin, Mark Dooley, Scott McLaughlin, Joshua Allen Johnson, Christopher Merchant and Mark Procopio, six soldiers from the Vermont Army National Guard, all of whom served with my son, Ben, and didn't come home with him. Their names are on a yellowing newspaper clipping on our refrigerator.

What's in a name? To many Americans, the faceless, anonymous names like Mohamed, Ali, Zena, Sabah, daughter of a dead woman, wife of a dead man are a fraction of American lives lost.

What's in a name? Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, Wolfowitz, Perl, Gonzales, Rice, Tenet, Bremmer, Frank, Gates, Negroponte. They opened Pandora's Box and they refuse to shut it back up. Impeach and prosecute them!

What's in a name? Pelosi, Reed, Hoyer, Obey, Clinton, Obama, McConnell, McCain, Giuliani, Romney, US Representatives Tom Allen and Michael Michaud, Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe. They all have blood on their hands!

What's in a name indeed? How about your name? What does it stand for? Where will your name be when it is time to read the names of those who care?

Dexter J. Kamilewicz is a member of Military Families Speak out from Orr's Island, Maine and ran as a peace candidate for Maine's First Congressional District as a "no-name" and received over 8% of the votes cast.

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