Stateside

Crossing the divide

Instead of making snarky comments about Saturday’s antiwar demonstrations in Washington– which I’m sure I could do easily enough, given the presence of Jane Fonda, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins– I’ll simply post this excerpt from a report in The Washington Post:

Earlier in the day, a smaller rally was held at the Navy Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue. About 3,000 people, many wearing pink or carrying pink signs, showed up for an antiwar protest sponsored by a women-run peace organization called CodePink.

Oriana Futrell, a Spokane, Wash., resident who said she has grown weary of going to the funerals of her friends’ husbands, carried a sign also urging the return of her husband, an Army lieutenant in Iraq.

Across the street, however, was a counter-protest, staged by the Washington chapter of the conservative organization FreeRepublic.com. Those protesters, who organizers said feared that the antiwar march would hurt the U.S. anti-terror efforts, yelled and sported signs, such as one that read, “Go to hell traitors. You dishonor our dead on hallowed ground.”

At least one veteran from the Iraq war tried to bridge the divide between the groups. Cpl. Joshua Sparling, 25, from Port Huron, Mich., who lost his right leg below the knee in an 2005 explosion in Ramadi, spoke to both groups.

Near the end of the CodePink rally, Sparling, a patient at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital who used crutches to walk, went to the microphone and told the protesters that they are entitled to the right to demonstrate and must fight for what they believe in. But he reminded them that the situation is dire for many Iraqis and U.S. troops there believe that they are fighting to help provide a better option for the people of Iraq. He was rewarded with general applause, although a few feint boos could be heard.

When he finished, he walked across the street and spoke with the FreeRepublic group also.

This world could use more people like Cpl. Sparling.

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