Saturday, July 16, 2005

National Guard Memorial in Iowa Debuts

A memorial of 230 pairs of combat boots each tagged with the name, rank, age and home state of National Guard soldiers who have died in Iraq made its debut in Iowa this week. AFSC staffer from Des Moines took the memorial to Devenport, Cedar Falls and Iowa City before ending at the National Governor's Conference in Des Moines yesterday.

The Memorial is drawing attention to the high rate of loss among National Guard troops in Iraq. These men and women signed up for domestic duty and their families do not have access to the same kinds of health benefits available to reserve and regular military.

Pierrette Wolfe of Clinton, one of the peopke attending the Memorial in Des Moines, has a 40-year-old son who's a career member of the Guard. She believes her son will eventually be called to active duty in Iraq. Right now, he's in Iowa City, training Guard members who work in ambulance crews that she says "will go over and mop up the carnage." Wolfe says she's "O.K." with what her son's doing, but she worries that it's just a matter of time before he is sent to Iraq. Wolfe accuses President Bush of using "trumped up" evidence of weapons of mass destruction to go into Iraq. "We had no legal right to go in there and invade a country," Wolfe says. "There's no way that you can bring democracy through the barrel of a gun." [from a report on Iowa radio]


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