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Gold Star Fathers Speak in Oklahoma City for Peace


END THE WAR NATIONAL ACTION - UNITED FOR PEACE & JUSTICE
By Darla Shelden

Oct. 27, Oklahoma City - - Two Oklahoma Gold Star fathers were keynote speakers at a rally in Oklahoma City Saturday calling for an end to the war in Iraq. About 150 activists gathered at the intersection of North Meridian Ave. and the Northwest Expressway, from 11 am to 12:30 pm, to hold signs, listen to music and hear speakers calling for peace.

“Support the troops, bring them home,” said Warren Henthorn of Choctaw, OK, whose son Jeffrey served eight years in the military before dying in Iraq, February 8, 2005. Mr. Henthorn is a regular participant in weekly public vigils where signs calling drivers to “honk for peace” are held.

John Scripsick of Wayne, OK, and his wife Jan were also at the rally, in memory of their son Bryan, killed in Iraq on Sept. 6 of this year. Scripsick said he believes that the death and destruction caused by the war in Iraq is only winning more hostility and hatred against the United States. “Bryan had his doubts about the mission of the war, but he went to Iraq out of loyalty to his buddies in his unit, “Scripsick said. “We must end this thing and bring our troops home immediately,” he said.

Col. (ret.) Katherine Scheirman, served 20 years as a medical doctor in various Air Force assignments around the world. Her final assignment was as Chief of Medical Operations at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, where casualties from Iraq are evacuated. Since leaving the military a year ago, Scheirman has been an outspoken advocate for ending the war in Iraq. “I urge everyone to take five minutes every day to call our US Senators and Representatives to for an end to the war in Iraq,” Scheirman said. “If members of Congress hear from hundreds of constituents every day, they will get the message that Americans want our troops out of Iraq,” she said. She said US troops should focus on the real enemy, Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda.

Dr. Robin Meyers, pastor at Mayflower Congregational Church in Oklahoma City urged folks to sign a resolution for peace, being circulated by the United Church of Christ denomination. “Our national president, Rev. John Thomas, was arrested while delivering more than 67,000 signatures on the resolution which we have at today's rally,” Dr. Meyers said. He said that signatures gathered this weekend will be added toward the goal of 100,000 signatures.

Reggie Cervantes, a 9/11 rescue worker featured in the Michael Moore movie "Sicko," also spoke at the rally. Cervantes compared the costs of health care for kids to the cost of war in Iraq. She said the children's health care bill recently vetoed by President Bush would only have cost the equivalent of six weeks of the Iraq war, per year. “I want my country to support health care preserving life, not an illegal war causing death,” Cervantes said.

Nathaniel Batchelder, director of the Peace House in Oklahoma City, was host at the event. “Let us remember that we are here because of what we are for, not only what we are against,” Batchelder said. He said the Peace House works for human rights, an end to the worst poverty and disease in the world, for fair wages for workers, preserving Social Security, and national health care. “Right now, what stands in the way of these affordable goals is a war that Americans should not be tolerating,” he said.

Music at the demonstration was provided by Oklahoma City's own “The Electric Primadonnas." Drumming was led by “Jahruba,” who performs in schools all over the state. Some 100 people participated in a “die-in” at 12:30 pm, led by Dr. Robin Meyers. Participants lay down in the grass along the Northwest Highway for five minutes, simulating the death and dying caused by the war in Iraq.

Darla Shelden, an organizer of Saturday's demonstration, said Oklahoma City's event was in solidarity with national action by United For Peace & Justice. "From many cities in one voice we sent a clear and unified message to end this war and bring the troops home now."

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I lived in Oklahoma City for many years and I have met and had long discussions on a variety of progressive issues with Nathaniel Batchelder, known as "Batch" to his friends. He is just as intelligent and enlightened as they come and very dedicated to every cause and idea for which we in the peace movement stand for. Oklahoma City is a very conservative town and we who live and pray for a better, more peaceful world are a small minority there. I am pleased to read of such events and very glad to hear about Batch keeping up the good work.

From the Pauls Valley Daily Democrat:

Pauls Valley father to speak out on Iraq war
http://www.paulsvalleydailydemocrat.com/archivesearch/local_story_299105...

A grieving Pauls Valley father is expected to be a featured speaker at a weekend event in Oklahoma City focused on ending the war in Iraq and bringing American troops home.

John Scripsick, father of Marine Cpl. Bryan Scripsick, who was killed last month while serving in Iraq, will speak at the event meant to call for the end of the war.

The demonstration entitled “End The War Now - National Day of Action” is set to go from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27 at the northeast corner of the intersection of N. Meridian Ave. and Northwest Expressway.

Scripsick will be one of two Oklahoma “Gold Star” fathers to speak.

The demonstration will take place in Oklahoma City in solidarity with United For Peace and Justice, who is hosting massive regional demonstrations and other actions around the country, according to organizers.

“Regional and local events on Saturday may bring out millions of Americans calling for our troops to come home,” said Nathaniel Batchelder, director of the Peace House in Oklahoma City.

“The people of this country know this war is wrong and it must stop,” said media representative Darla Shelden.

“On Saturday, from many cities but in one voice, we will send a clear and unified message: end this war, bring the troops home and fund our communities instead of this immoral war.”

The two Gold Star fathers whose sons died in Iraq will be speakers calling for an end to the war.

“I just want to spare other parents what our family has gone through,” said Warren Henthorn of Choctaw, who lost his son, Jeffrey, during his second tour in Iraq.

The event will include music by special guests, The Electric Primadonnas, drumming by Jahruba, signs, petitions, and post cards to be sent to members of Congress.

Those attending are encouraged to attend, bring signs, drums, lawn chairs and “let their voice be heard.”

For more information about the Oklahoma City event go to the Peace House website http://www.peacehouseok.org/ or for the protests in the 11 other cities across America go to Oct27.org, or unitedforpeace.org

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