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Military families ask ‘how many more?’

To show the true cost of the Iraq War — in which more than 4,000 lives have been lost — local members of two anti-war organizations paid tribute to soldiers by holding a funeral procession and ceremony on Saturday.

Long Beach Peace Area Network (PAN) and Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) organized the funeral procession.

“I can’t live with women and children dying in Iraq, and I have a son who is disabled from fighting in Iraq, and my second son will be deployed to Iraq soon,” said Tina Richards, an MFSO member.

The two-hour procession consisted of cars displaying signs that read, “How many more?,” “End the War!” and “4,258 dead.” The cars passed by the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station, the VA Long Beach Healthcare System, a cemetery and ended at Congresswoman Laura Richardson’s office in downtown Long Beach.

“I am involved with MFSO because my niece is going to Iraq this July, and she is only 18,” said Michelle Aquilar, an MFSO member. “The recruiter promised her that she won’t be called to Iraq, but now she is.”

At the final site, people carried two mock U.S. flag-covered caskets to represent soldiers who died in the war. Some people spoke about their own experiences in the military.

“I was in Iraq for nine months, and I was discharged in 2003,” said Alexander Madrigal, an Iraq veteran. “I have depression now.”

Several members gave eulogies commemorating those who died, while others spoke about family and friends who are currently in the military.

“I was opposed to this war from the beginning because I did not see why we needed to invade Iraq,” said Pat Alviso, an MFSO chapter leader. “I did not want my son to be part of the military either.”

Richardson shared her empathy with the families. She said a million soldiers have served in Iraq, and she will try her best to stop the funding for the Iraq War through voting.

The hospital is located next to Cal State Long Beach, and Alviso said students are encouraged to get involved in stopping the war by becoming united because most of the soldiers are the same age and cannot speak out in a strong enough voice by themselves.

MFSO, according to its website, was formed in November 2002 by two families who opposed the Iraq War and had loved ones in the military. Currently, 3,400 military families are part of the organization.

For more information about Military Families Speak Out, visit http://mfsooc.org.

2 Comments

  1. Just because someone supports Obama doesn’t mean they have to support all of his ideas. Nor does it mean they can’t be actively speaking out against the war. Perhaps they merely see Obama as the better candidate, rather than the ideal candidate. It’s not hypocrisy unless they are saying to “end the war” but then acting in fashion that promotes it.

    Furthermore, Obama has said that he is for ending the war, despite the fact that he hasn’t pulled us out immediately. His plan is to end the war, but obviously something is preventing an immediate withdrawal. And if you don’t have ALL of the intelligence he does, you can’t speculate about his motives for keeping troops there.

  2. I actually had a chance to witness some of these cars Saturday around Long Beach…great idea but I have to say this : If you are going to drive around with posters saying “End the War” on your car, maybe you should take the Obama sticker off…it’s quite hypocritical.

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