Vets staging counter-protest to protect Wall
By C.J. Raven
U.S. Veteran Dispatch
February 07, 2007
Leftist activists who march to the Pentagon next month will discover that their path won’t be as clear as it has been in the past.
The group, led by Cindy Sheehan, Jane Fonda, Ed Asner and their ilk, plan to gather March 17 at the Vietnam Memorial Wall to begin a march to protest America’s involvement in the Iraq war. The date marks the fourth anniversary of the war’s beginning.
This time, however, protestors will see objectors if they spit on Iraqi veterans again, or throw paint on a war memorial. This time, they will encounter a buzz saw of Vietnam veterans and supporters who will gather to protect the Wall, and show their support for U.S. troops. The counter-protestors are calling themselves the Gathering of Eagles.
“… An eagle knows when a storm is approaching long before it breaks. The eagle will fly to some high spot and wait for the winds to come. When the storm hits, it sets its wings so that the wind will pick it up and lift it above the storm. While the storm rages below, the eagle is soaring above it.”
An unknown author wrote that description, but it describes how the veterans see their mission. They are angry that the Wall is being used as a jumping off point for a political protest and they are gathering to protect it from another storm of anti-war activists.
“The anti-war/anti-America group cannot be allowed to use the Vietnam Memorial Wall as a back-drop to their anti-America venom and stain the hallowed ground that virtually cries out with blood at the thought of this proposed desecration … it must not happen,” said veteran Bud Gross. “… All Americans are invited to support our effort, which is intended as a defender of hallowed ground and intended as a non-violent competition between those that would sell out America and those of us who support freedom and keeping the fight with the enemy on distant shores.”
The group defending the Wall will be wearing armbands to identify themselves. Those who are unable to stand with the defenders are being asked to wear armbands with small U.S. flags to show their own communities that they abhor the Fonda-Sheehan tactics.
“We’ll be there to act as a countervailing force against the Cindy Sheehan-Jane Fonda march from the Vietnam Memorial to the Pentagon,” retired Navy Capt. Larry Bailey said. “We will protect the Vietnam Memorial. If they try to deface it, there will be some violence, I guarantee you.”
Bailey and thousands of his fellow Vietnam vets are worried that the anti-war protesters will damage the wall, just as they spray-painted the steps of the Capitol at their last march.
The wall is sacred to the men and women who fought in that war.
“It is our contact with our dead brothers — those who lost their lives in the cause of their country,” Bailey said.
And so it is that Washington will see a Gathering of Eagles - Americans determined to stand up against leftist propagandists who denigrate U.S. troops and the mission for which they sometimes sacrifice their lives.
Retired Col. Harry Riley organized the Gathering of Eagles.
Organizers hope thousands will show up in Washington from as far away as Hawaii, and they won’t only be Vietnam veterans. Families, friends and veterans of other wars, including Iraq, and soldiers still on active duty, will be there to defend the Wall.
“When we say a gathering of eagles, that signifies people who support the American way,” Bailey said.
The leftist Web site MarchonPentagon.org describes the anti-war demonstrators this way: “The March on the Pentagon has already attracted more than 1,500 endorsers, including prominent individuals and national and grassroots organizations. Students on college campuses and in high schools will be attending in large numbers. There will be a large turnout from the Muslim and Arab American community, which is organizing throughout the country.”
The movement is well-financed. Its sponsor list is lengthy and contains highly recognizable names, as well as those of Fonda and Sheehan:
· Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark (who offered his services to defend Saddam Hussein)
· Ultra-liberal Congresswoman Maxine Waters
· Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney
· Ron Kovic, Vietnam veteran and author of “Born on the 4th of July”
· Mahdi Bray, executive director, Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation
· Waleed Bader, vice chair of the National Council of Arab Americans and former president of Arab Muslim American Federation
· Medea Benjamin, co-founder, CODEPINK and Global Exchange
· Free Palestine Alliance
· Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation
· Islamic Political Party of America
· FMLN (Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front)
· Islamic-National Congress
· Gay Liberation Network
· Muslim Student Association
· Jibril Hough, chairman, Islamic Political Party of America
Retired Air Force Col. Smitty Harris, a former Vietnam POW, doesn’t believe Fonda’s protests carry the weight they once did. Harris says Fonda’s actions at the march last month were “anti-American,” just as they were in the 1970s, and won’t have much effect on public opinion.
“It was big news during the Vietnam era when they had these marches … because people didn’t have all the alternative ways of finding out what is true and what’s not,” he recently told Agape Press. “So I don’t think it’s going to have a big effect.” In fact, he says, it could even be counterproductive.
Today, Harris points out, Americans have talk radio and media outlets like the Fox News Channel to hear the voices of those who do not agree with Jane Fonda’s point of view.
For more information, visit the Gathering of Eagles message board.
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