On Wednesday, December 14th, thousands of MoveOn members delivered over 400,000 petition signatures calling for an exit plan from Iraq to 285 congressional offices.
Events took place in every corner of the country; in Battle Creek, MI; Hays, KS; Defiance, OH; Starkville, MS; Humble, TX; Loveland, CO; Burnsville, MN; Walterboro, SC; Coeur d'Alene, ID; Hickory, NC; Norman, OK; Cookeville, TN; Peoria, IL; Martinsburg, WV; Prairie du Sac, WI, to name a few places.
Volunteers say the deliveries were a resounding success. Most events were led by delegations of veterans and military families. More than half had media there.Together, our efforts brought Congress face to face with the growing majority of Americans calling for a plan to bring our troops home from Iraq.
Our featured speaker was a 73 year old man who has a son in the military. He gave an articulate and moving argument against the reasons for staying in Iraq. He has now been invited to pen a guest op-ed for the local paper arguing why we should bring our troops home in '06. - Linda, Hickory, North Carolina.
Showing up at the Congressman's office with nearly a dozen people to hand over a petition with nearly 1,300 signatures from the district during a snowstorm made an impression that we are serious. - Carl, Minnetonka, Minnesota.
We had among us the mother of a man who is up for his 2nd deployment in April. In a recorded message to Rep. Van Hollen, she directly addressed the shortage of adequate equipment in the field. It was very touching to hear her story in person. - Jennifer, Montgomery Village, Maryland
The mother of female Army soldier, 11 months in Iraq, spoke directly to Rep. Greg Walden. She identified herself as member of military family served in every war including Revolutionary War, and respectfully informed the Congressman of her anger that her daughter is there, while few children of high Govt. officials serve. - Thomas, Talent, Oregon.
The most moving moment was when a mother who lost her son spoke up and talked about her loss and that of the other mothers who she is in contact with, especially telling us he had done three years in Iraq, came home and was starting a life and got called back and then didn't make it home again--that was the toughest part for her--the group of us wept as she spoke so powerfully and emotionally about her son and other's sons and daughters who have been lost to this horrible war. - Genie, Emerald Hills, California.
A large national grassroots petition drive like this builds significant credibility for our shared issues. It's hard for our Congressmen or their aids & staff to ignore the voice of the people, directly expressed as we were today. They do listen when provided this kind of opportunity. Congressman Jim McGovern took an hour out of his busy schedule to speak with us, as we crowded into his office in downtown Worcester and he was on the phone. - Richard, Worcester, Massachusetts.
I attended because I'm a vet, and I fought in Operation Iraqi Freedom. It's a terrible thing to be separated from your family and missing them when you know that you shouln't even be deployed in the first place. My husband and my father are in the military, and I'm thankful that they're both home with us during the holidays. I feel very sorry for military families who are missing loved ones, and who will spend the holidays worrying their safety and sanity. I especially feel sorry for the families who have lost loved ones. We owe it to them and to the troops to ensure that next Christmas, no soldier will be away from home, in a strange and lonely place fighting in a needless war. - K., Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.
Petition was presented at Rep. Jean Schmidt's office. It was their intention to reach out the door to receive the petition. We demanded to enter the office and did so. It was a good feeling, 30 people letting her staff people know we oppose Schmidt's views on Iraq and other issues. We excoriated her for her House speech on November 18. She called during the meeting and told her aides to take down names! - Kay, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Our best moment was when a mother whose son died in Iraq, joined our group, telling us her story. She brought with her a large photograph of her son. She thanked us for coming, tell us that now this was her job, bring home the troops. It really brought it home to us, why we were there, why we had to keep working, so no one else's son would be killed. - Celeste, Atherton, California
[At the office] they told me MoveOn.org was not welcome, then we had a big laugh. We had 275 names on the patition. I took it to his office myself. We are in total GOP country here and … I felt we would get about 10 to 20 people to sign........ 275! WOW. - William, Sharpsburg, Georgia
One of our attendees was 91-year old WW2 veteran; I asked him to deliver the petition package, then we had a very nice talk with Ms. Sanchez staff. - John, Santa Ana, California
I have a son serving in Afghanistan and it made me feel I was helping by the outside chance we can put an end to the war in Iraq that perhaps he will be saved from further war zone deployments. - Robert, Hewitt, New Jersey.
Gold Star Mom Karen Meredith showed up. She read her statement, hands shaking, voice breaking. The personal follow-up is to invite her, and other moms who have lost sons and daughters in the Iraq War, to some kind of event around Christmas. She spoke of an empty place at the table this time of year. - Constance, Woodside, California.
We had a Mom, Summer Lipford, who lost her 20 yr old son, Steven Sirko, in Iraq. We were all very emotional listening to her explain that her family will never be the same. - Diane, Charlotte, North Carolina.