Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Protesters arrested following parade

Boston Vets - Photo Hosted at Buzznet
Photo by Angela Rowlings

By Laurel J. Sweet | Monday, November 12, 2007 | http://www.bostonherald.com | Local Coverage

Eighteen members of Veterans for Peace, an outspoken fraternity of former servicemen opposed to the Iraq War, were arrested by Boston police for disturbing the Veterans Day ceremony on City Hall plaza yesterday, after they lined up across the speakers’ platform with gagged mouths.

The group was made to bring up the rear of the annual parade - for which hundreds of patriots lined Boylston and Tremont streets - and were even placed behind the street sweepers.

“They do not want to adhere to our rules of conduct,” James Lawler, commander of the American Legion in Suffolk County, told the Herald, suggesting the protesters’ time would be better spent in Washington, D.C., fighting for benefits and better VA hospitals.

“This is not a political parade,” said Lawler, an Air Force veteran of the Korean War and former Boston police officer, “it’s to show our veterans respect. It kills me that we have service veterans coming back maimed, but all we can do is help them.”

Veterans for Peace member Winston Warfield, a veteran of the Vietnam War, acknowledged Lawler was right about his organization’s political motives, but said, “We’re all servicemen. Some of us have wounds to prove it.”

Both sides were met with applause, whether by tots in strollers waving flags, Marines calling out “Semper Fi!” or modern-day hippies chanting for peace.

Cynthia Johnson-Smith, on behalf of 9,000 members of the Massachusetts American Legion Auxiliary, said the turnout alone “means that we appreciate our freedom at the price these veterans have paid.”

Brookline native Sue Gracey, 73, who calls herself “a raging granny,” chose to march with the war protesters, but said she still supports the troops.

“Our country’s in trouble,” Gracey said. “I love the flag, but it needs to be shown with humility.”

Kristine Galeota knew her kids’ thoughts were on hot chocolate after the parade, but before they left the ceremony there was so much more she wanted them to drink in.

“With children, you never really celebrate the holiday the way that it’s supposed to be,” Galeota of Townsend said, her daughter, 8, and son, 10, at her side, their cheeks stung pink by the cold.

“Whether you agree with the war or not, you should still support the veterans,” she said. “There are opposing sides. You need to deal with it. It’s the United States of America.”

Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/general/view.bg?articleid=1044078

Check out the Veterans for Peace Take Action page for ideas about how to help

1 comments:

Renegade Eye said...

Very good post. A straight out free speech issue.

I'll be at Mayday December 08th, for the forum on Shay's Rebellion.