Saturday, November 26, 2005

Bring Their Buddies Home!

News from San Diego and a Camp Casey Alum about a veterans and others memorial on the beach that gave voice to the fallen who would want us to Bring Their Buddies Home.

My friend Ellouise sent this out from Barbara who was the greeter/parking organizer at the Peace House in Crawford, TX while Camp Casey was set up this summer. I have met Barbara a couple times... with a mutual friend over coffee and when she asked me to help set up tents at Camp Casey on the Mall in September. She typifies the energy and intelligence that is the essential uniting element of the new Women's Peace Movement. The emergent women's network is a wonderful thing. Without it I can't imagine how I would have found out about the

Bring Their Buddies Home Memorial

Here's Barbara's letter (that went out to Camp Casey Alumni):

San Diego Ca is a well known, conservative military town. People who live here enjoy sun, surf, and year around good times.

On Friday afternoon people dressed all in black started to gather along the coast in Carlsbad, Ca, just north of San Diego. They came in two and threes. They came in wheelchairs. They came with dogs and baby joggers. They rode bikes. They walked. The coaster was full of people dressed in balck. They were singles and couples and families. One family had four generations. Many came with teen and pre-teen children. There were baby boomers and their parents. There were Vietnam era vets. There were active duty Marines. There were young soldiers, Iraqi vets. There were families who had lost a son or daughter in Iraq. There was a young boy who had lost his grandfather in Iraq.

Friday was a beautiful sunny day with a bit of haze over the ocean. The malls opened early and people trampled each other to grab a "discounted" item. Hundreds stood in predawn lines to be first. Afterall, didn't the president tell us to shop? Don't worry about the terrorists, the war, the dead soldiers, just shop.

So what were these people doing lining up along the coast? Paying silent tribute to the fallen in Iraq. Brainchild of Jeeni Criscenzo, candidate for congress in San Diego county, BRING THEIR BUDDIES HOME, had brought this diverse group out. There were no signs, banners or shouting slogans. It was a respectful, thoughtful way to recognize the sacrifice of the soldiers who have been killed in Iraq and Afganistan.

They came and kept coming. Volunteers led groups of 15-20 to the end of the line. They stood quietly side by side, acknowledging passing cars and pedestriains strolling along the beach with a smile, nod or thumbs up. They stood for over two hours and still they came. The line would end up stretching for one mile and consist of 1000 people, give or take a few. The local papers and press were all there. It made the evening news on all three networks. The local Air America host was there, standing in the line. Not for show, but because he cared.

Many of the San Diegans who were in Crawford Tx in August were there. I am one of that group. I would have been in Crawford with Cindy, Ann Wright and Daniel Ellsberg, had I not been down with the flu. The turnout was beyond my wildest expectation. Imagine that, the day after Thanksgiving, spending the day standing in a line along the beach with 1000 of my closest friends! Who could ask for anything more?

Barbara Cummings
A Proud San Diegan

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