Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Cindy Arrested

I'm sure you all know that Cindy Sheehan and about 370 other protesters were arrested during the anti-war demonstration in the D.C. area. That made the main stream, but there was something you might have missed. Chuck and Mary Schantag of the P.O.W.NETWORK forwarded an E-mail they had received to me. It tells about some of the activities that took place during the demonstration that I haven't seen mentioned in the main stream reports. I'd like to share that E-mail with you. I want to add, I don't know the writer of the E-mail or the original recipient, but Chuck and Mary are old friends so I don't doubt the facts stated in the E-mail.

Sent: Monday, September 26, 2005 10:21 AM
Subject: Events at the Wall, Saturday, 24 Sep 2005

Good Morning Holly,

As you are well aware, DC was impacted this past weekend by several demonstrations, one of which was mainly focused on the anti-war position of many.

The Wall was especially hard hit by these demonstrators.

As in the past, the words 'anti-war' and 'protestors' act as a magnet and draw them to the Wall. The last occurrence was during the Million Workers March last October.

But Saturday was particularly difficult. We had no National Park Service Rangers on duty to supplement 5 'Yellow Hats', one of whom, Vietnam Vet Bob Koch, traveled from Philadelphia just for the day to help out.

Through the efforts of a Nam Vet with connections at the 'pins and patches' stands, we were supplemented by 4 members of Star Touring & Riding Association, a local biker club, and half a dozen out-of-town Nam Vets who had come for a reunion and stayed with us all day.

In order to preserve the 'political neutrality' of the Wall as established by the VVMF, some of us were stationed at the West and East End of the walks to intercept the demonstrators and ask that they leave their banners, placards and signs on the benches before coming to the Wall.

Ninety-nine percent complied and were polite. That left the noisy, obnoxious, threatening one percent who made the day emotionally trying for all of us. One protester grabbed me by my shirt and was holding me personally responsible for the safety of her materials. I think a Vet called the Park Police to come to my assistance. It didn't escalate and I didn't file charges.

But that wasn't the only incident in which they were required.

We spotted a few demonstrators filming confrontational events at the West Walk and also some of whom who were wearing red berets and were overheard discussing strategy on their cell phones. I wouldn't be surprised if this wasn't material for future training films for future demonstrations.

The Nam Vets were splendid. Their tempers were challenged and there were verbal confrontations, but to realize that this was 'going down memory lane' again for these men was heartbreaking for me, but they persevered and came out perhaps winning some hearts and minds. I'm so proud of them and I don't even know their names. Some of them will be back, they reassured me.

Also evident was the wax damage and residue left from a candlelight vigil Friday night headed by 'Cindy' someone who has camped outside President Bush's' ranch all summer. There are grease spots and green and red wax everywhere.

Our newest 'Yellow Hat' had harassment charges brought against him by a protestor. This Volunteer had only just begun his service at the Wall the weekend of 17 Sep. He's an active duty Navy Seabee in Washington.

Our coverage of the Wall began as early as 0730 and Allen McCabe and I finally walked off-site at 1800, exhausted.

What's my purpose in writing you? In my over 1900 hours at the Wall since January 2002, there have been a few incidents that left negative impressions on me, but nothing to equal this.

I'm perplexed at the inability of the National Park Service to provide sufficient Ranger coverage during these demonstrations. I don't even feel there is an NPS Management official I could contact. I have had frequent conversations with dissatisfied Rangers who claim management inaptitude. I saw it this past Saturday.

If Jan and the Board are at all interested in the quality of life at the Wall, and ensuring that these demoralizing demonstrations are held in check to preserve the sanctity and emotional privacy of returning Nam Vets and Families, then I feel he should read this.

The rest is up to him, the Board and ultimately the National Park Service.

I'm just a Yellow Hat at the grunt level but I don't shy from confrontations to ensure that the visiting Nam Vet has an environment in which to make his peace with his fallen Brothers.


Betty Henry

The author of the E-mail mentions her purpose for writing it, so I'll mention my reason for posting it. I suppose the purpose of the demonstration was to get support for the anti-war movement. If I'm right I think the protesters have failed. You don't get respect by showing a lack of respect for others and that's what the protestors have done. They have shown a disrespect for the names on the Wall, their friends families and loved ones. May God Bless every name on the Wall and everyone they left behind.

God Bless America, God Save The Republic


Blogger Jake Porter said...

I admit they have a right to protest but it is extremly stupid to think you can show so much disrespect for people and expect them to agree with you.

I think it is time to consider pulling our troops out of Iraq but if I go somewhere and respectfully say this or I can go and yell at people which one is more likely to agree with me.

Good post.

God bless anyone who fought in any war for this country including Vietnam.

4:16 AM  
Blogger David Schantz said...

Jake, I have been involved in protest. Mostly anti-United Nations. We walked with signs, NO name calling No throwing things and No puting your hands on people. We showed everyone we came in contact with respect agree with them or not, and they showed us respect in return. Not what we see today.

God Bless America, God Save The Republic

9:13 AM  
Anonymous parated2k said...

People forget that our right to demonstrate and protest is not a license to demonstrate how big of a horse's behind we can be to people.

To actual war protesters and pacifists I say, never be afraid to speak your mind. I may not agree with you, but I would kill or die to protect your right.

To protest any war is as constitutional as to fight in it. For an American to take sides with the enemy isn't anit war, it's merely "pro" the other side.

Cindy has proven with her words that she is not against the war in Iraq, she is rooting for the very people who put that RPG round in her son's HMMWV.

2:46 PM  

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