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Rally Focuses on Iran, Saber-Rattling
Gillian Myers held a sign firmly over her head. Its message: "Even children know to march for peace."
The 4-year-old from Palm Bay was among about 500 people participating in Florida's First Mass March to Stop War on Iran. Rallies similar to the one Saturday -- which was led by Brevard Patriots for Peace -- have increased across the country as some believe U.S. leaders are building up to war with the Middle Eastern nation.
"We were misled into one war and we don't want it to happen again," Gillian's dad Ray Myers said. "Sitting at home and complaining doesn't do anything."
Peace activists of all ages from across the state marched from Front Street Park to Melbourne City Hall, chanting "Peace, now" and singing lyrics from John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance."
"This just shows we will not tolerate another war," co-organizer Jeff Nall said. "This shows people are committed to peace and justice."
The march was the first rally Eric Oriol had attended in several months. The 53-year-old from North Miami said he had stopped attending rallies in part because he's been discouraged by Democrats who continue to fund the war in Iraq. But he said the message needs to be sent.
"I don't think this is a good time to give up," he said. "Two wars are too much. One war is too much."
Bud Holle, 80, of Riverview held up a sign that read "Honor the Warrior, Not the War" as he sat with his wife and dog, waiting for the march to begin.
The World War II veteran regularly attends anti-war rallies as a member of Veterans for Peace. He said the attitude toward his efforts has changed.
"When I first started, they gave you the finger," he said. "Now people are giving thumbs up."
The rally had its critics, too.
Hamilton Boone, 61, of Indian Harbour Beach stood across the street from Melbourne City Hall, where the rally took place, and held a sign that read "Give War a chance."
"I'm tired of people knocking America," said the 61-year-old Vietnam-era Marine, who described himself as a "liberal turned conservative."