On April 1, 2006, several thousand people marched from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Non-violent Social Change in Atlanta to nearby Piedmont Park to rally against the war in Iraq and the Bush administration’s war on providing for those in need at home. The event was co-sponsored by the Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition.
Called “The Southern Regional March for Peace in Iraq & Justice at Home,” the event was scheduled to coincide with the third anniversary of the War and the 38th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination.
Once in the park, the protesters were treated to a giant puppet show with a giant, blue coated, cardboard Bush with an army of cardboard puppet airplanes was defeated by an enormous cardboard MLK puppet and a flock of white cardboard doves.
Speaking of puppets, there was a puppetmaster at the event showing who really pulls the strings in this administration.
Among the notable and noteworthy speakers at the event was form president and co-founder, with Dr. King, of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Dr. Joseph E. Lowery, who spoke about sending “smart bombs in a dumb war.”
Dr. Lowery also answered critics of his remarks during the funeral for Coretta Scott King in January, during which he mentioned the foibles of this administration with President Bush sitting right behind him! The service, of course, was in a large church east of Atlanta. Ten-thousand people were there. “People want to know how I could say those things with the President in my house,” Rev. Lowery said Saturday. “First of all, it’s not my house. It’s the Lord’s house.” Cheers erupted. Then the reverend, who has been ministering for over fifty years, asked, “Who is he to tell me how to run a Black funeral? Has he ever run one? I’ve run hundreds. [At a Black funeral] we praise the good works of the departed so that those there can pick up the [mantle] and continue.”
While there were several anti-war veterans’ groups represented, it was riveting when four veterans of the Iraq War and founding members of the Georgia chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War took the stage.
I spoke with one of the vets afterward and he expressed to me how he felt like he let down his country by going and fighting in Iraq. I did my best to reassure him that it was not his fault, that we didn’t blame him. But the pain of what he did in the name of the United States was evident on his face.
One of the most moving demonstrations was a display of a couple of hundred army boots with the names and ages of those killed-in-action lined up neatly on a hillside in the park, overlooking the event.
Near the army boots was another gathering of pairs of shoes, formed into a peace sign.
These shoes represented the tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis, including the children, whom our bombs and guns have taken in this terrible war.
And at least one little protester was there to voice her opinion- in the only way she could – the direction our country has gone.
Finally, I urge you to click on the embedded links and see if there is something you can contribute to these courageous groups who are taking a stand for America at home. They know, as we do, that when we stand up our horrible president and his misguided supporters will have to stand down.