Thank you, to all who stood up for me, You are the reason I defend your freedoms.
By Judi McLeod
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Yesterday, St. Patrick's Day 2007, a group of ordinary patriots, known nobly as The Gathering of Eagles, achieved something no one else ever could.
Ragtag by nature, Gathering of Eagles' membership includes the wounded, both walking and in wheelchairs, the gratefully and proudly ageing and the living-with-the-memory-of-lost- loved ones, brokenhearted. Some lie awake nights worrying about loved ones still in harm's way, but the one human emotion missing from Gathering of Eagle members is disillusion. All because if there was any chance the touted anti-war protesters were going to desecrate war memorials, then The Gathering of Eagles members were going to be there--no matter from how far away they had to come, no matter in what shape March 17 was to find them in.
When they came to the call of Move America Forward, they knew in their hearts that they would be up against it. March 17 was not only the 40th anniversary of the Mother of all anti-war protests, when a decades-ago massive march to the Pentagon demanded an end to the war in Vietnam, it was also being marked as the 4th Anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Capitalizing on the past, and gathering at a time when the Nancy Pelosi Democrats control the White House, the anti-war movement was flooding Washington, D.C. this weekend with a once-and-for-all demand for America to surrender the War on Terrorism.
Veterans joining up with the Gathering of Eagles from as far away as Hawaii, knew from the outstart they could be vastly outnumbered in body, but never in spirit.
From a heralding media, hundreds of thousands were said to be descending upon Washington. Jane Fonda would be there to meet them. The mainstream media, so many sadly in sync with the "U.S. Out of Iraq Now" crowd, would ensure that the other side would get little network attention.
Mother Nature brought the dawning of a cold day with proof from the age-old adage that "March wind (is) colder than snow."
Even though the counter protest was to be resoundingly successful, only snippets of what took place in Washington was to flicker briefly from yesterday's suppertime news.
But 'These Colors Don't Run', and this is what the troop-loving Move America Forward and the Gathering of Eagles accomplished against all odds.
The hundreds of thousands the anti-war movement promised did not descend on the nation's capital to mark a 40th anniversary destined never be forgotten. They numbered only in the thousands--and part of those thousands included the less protest savvy Other Side! Indeed, Fox News reported that the crowd totaled several thousand with as many from The Gathering of Eagles as from the anti-war crowd.
Jane Fonda was a no show. Not being able to count on Al Gore's global warming, perhaps she thought she'd get her tinted feathers wet.
Big-talking Hollywood celebrities left Cindy Sheehan out in the cold on her own.
Yesterday's sea change was bound to usher in a new chapter in history. The anti-war protesters were in Washington trying to sustain a 40-year-old memory with tired, old chants like the standby "Impeach Bush" one.
The Gathering of Eagles was in Washington to protect war memorials erected to honor the fallen and in a symbolic show of love for all living troops in harm's way.
One thing for anti-war protesters to hint at desecrating war memorials. One thing for a media to remain silent when soldiers are spit upon. Quite another to meet from the distance of right across the street, the steely-eyed glint of the veterans of real wars.
Yesterday was a televised pageant of play soldiers fighting war from the safety of a world away, meeting face on, the real McCoys, a sort of underplayed Gathering of Eagles vs. the Moonbats.
As the event played out, not all of the teared over eyes from the faces in the crowd were the result of whipping Washington winds.
There was an unforgettable reason.
For the week leading up to yesterday's anniversary protest, a caravan of families who lost children in the war on terrorism, families who still have loved ones serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and veterans of Vietnam, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom had crossed the nation hoping to get a single message across: "Surrender is not an option."
Melanie Morgan's Move America Forward caravan must have hit the road with niggling worry laced in with hope as it left San Francisco.
Anyone following the progress of the Caravan of Hope must have been misty eyed when reading about what happened within only hours of that departure. The caravan with its 10,000 flags to be sent as proof to troops fighting for freedom was mobbed along the way! Patient school children, holding homemade flags waited curbside for the caravan to pass by. Veterans wearing medals, school choirs sounding like singing angels and Americans from all walks of life left their kitchens to be there when the Move America Forward caravan was passing through Small Town America. By Texas, enthused crowds were so large, a police escort led the caravan along its way.
Little wonder why Washington winds couldn't extinguish heart warmth the caravan reached its final destination.
When history is written, March 17th, 2007 will at long last eclipse March 17, 1967, as the day when soldiers in faraway Iraq and Afghanistan knew for certain, no matter what real time saw them doing, love and respect await their safe return. The day when it was proven to a watching world that Washington war memorials stand for what they always stood for, time immemorial, the day when the graves of fallen American soldiers the world were warmer.
God Blessed The Gathering of Eagles. They did it!