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Congresswoman Lee Town Hall: Bill Mitchell, Parent


The founder of Gold Star Families for Peace (http://www.commondreams.org/news2005/0614-27.htm), a group of military families began the next speech, one without the need for commentary:

"I'd rather not be up here speaking to you. What I have to say is not pleasant, not pleasant at all. But just try to imagine waking up every morning that your child is still dead. It's better when it's your first thought, because when you're five minutes into it, it's like a two-by-four...I was one of eight guests that John Conyers was allowed to bring in, and I [went to the White House] to deliver the letter signed by [90] Members of Congress and the 500,000 petitions collected by afterdowningstreet.org...The stories I'm about to tell you should not have happened, if this war hadn't been manufactured...for the legal occupation of a soverign country."

"I thought mom wasn't going to make it until Mike got home, but she had to see her favorite grandson's funeral. But I'm going to share with you some of the stories of [others] who are on the same journey I am now..." and he went on to tell of a young man who died along with his son, both of whom were in the coffins shown on the cover of the Seattle Times. He told of the first Pennsylvania National Guard member, [Zappala]...to be killed since World War II while searching for weapons of mass destruction..."

There were more stories, both of those familes whose fallen children were close to his dead son, and other families scattered across the country with equally tragic stories. He continued past his allotted time, but there was no chance he would be cut off.

"I really can't stop this without talking about the Iraqis. Just last week 170 Iraqis were killed by suicide bombs. with the exceptoin of the one attack that 24 children were killed in, they get buried under the front page...what I don't understand is why the London bombings are [the only ones] on the front page."

The emcee who followed his speech called it "Not a pleasure" to be there with him, "but an honor, the word is honor."

-Robert Klein

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Dear Bill

Right now my son is up in his room, listening to his music. I cannot imagine anything more terrible than to lose him or his sister, I can only guess at your pain. I served in the British Army and until this illegal immoral unjust war I would have been so proud if my kids had followed in my footsteps, not now. I joined the army believing my country would NEVER ask me to do anything wrong, I believed I was protecting my country.

We have just heard that the young man shot on the tube yesterday was not a suspect. I cannot get his image out of my mind, a young, terrified man being shot to death. But this is a daily experience in Iraq. You are right to point to the fact that what has happened in London is covered whilst daily carnage in Iraq is not, or is minimised. As someone who travels the route the bombers took into London I see the posters of missing people every morning. We grieve for them because we can see them , they are like us. I sit on the tube with people just like those who died, it could be us next. But the ultimate dehumanisation is the way Iraqi and Palestian deaths are reported.

Thank you for saying and doing what you do. We must not stay silent.

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