Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Friday Retreat

By —— Bio and Archives--September 18, 2007

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It was one of those life-defining moments standing in front of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center when Friday’s Retreat was called for the traditional lowering the flag.

Standing with Melanie Morgan of Move America Forward (MAF) for this moving ceremony, ushered in by the haunting sound of Taps, remains etched on my heart.

Melanie, Gold Star Mom Debbie Lee, whose glorious son, Marc Allan Lee was the First Navy Seal killed in Iraq on August 2, 2006 and Diana Nagy, whose song Where Freedom Flies is a siren call for patriots everywhere, turned their gaze to the flag when the call came.

Moonbats A few feet away, an elderly gentleman heading for his car heard the sound and stood at attention, his hand over his heart. He was an average senior citizen in an average setting, which made the scenario all the more touching.

Canada Free Press (CFP) Associate Editor Arthur Weinreb and Yours Truly had rushed to the Medical Center to meet with Melanie, who was busy preparing for the MAF/Gathering of Eagles counter-protest to the antiwar march on Washington, D.C. the following morning.

Watching the lowering of the flag with the rest of us was a young soldier, who lost both legs in battle in Iraq. The arms of the wheelchair-bound soldier were scarred from the shoulders down. Yet, he flashed an unforgettable smile as we were introduced.

There were few smiles among the sundry malcontents who showed up for protest patrol on September 15, the day of International ANSWER’s antiwar protest-“die-in” in the capital.

Watching their antics sent me back to the night before and the smile of a brave soldier.

The protest was a throwback to the 1960s. Young men whose hair braids competed in length with those of the peace-at-any-price grannies. Students, hippies, Communists, with the same old tired placards, “Bush lied”, “Impeach for Peace”. The anarchists stood out by virtue of hiding behind their trademark face handkerchiefs.

This was protesting in peace, a Sunday picnic in the park. Bottled water and Starbucks’ coffee cups were everywhere. Hucksters moved throughout the crowd selling t-shirts in the same fashion that peanuts are sold at baseball games.

Somewhat comically, the day was kicked off not by the anti-war activists but by the pro-troop rally sponsored by MAF and the Gathering of Eagles.

Jack Langer of Human Events.com described it best: “This was the group that organized thousands of people, mostly Vietnam Vets, to come to the ANSWER rally last March and heckle the bejeezsus out of the surprised antiwar protesters marching to the Pentagon.

“This time, several hundred Eagles were gathered on the mall, waving American flags, singing patriotic songs, and cheering speeches that praised U.S. soldiers and ridiculed the protesters. It was not yet 10 a.m., and hardly any ANSWER activists were to be seen. A funny thing about these D.C. rallies and counter-rallies is that the pro-American side always turns out early, while the leftists can never seem to get anything organized before noon.”

It isn’t easy being a hippie, Jack. Crawling out of bed before noon is tough on laid-back party boys.

Langer’s eyewitness account of how the antiwar activists got themselves arrested is hilarious.

“Answer had billed the die-in stunt as a major act of civil disobedience. But, in fact, it was nothing of the sort. The cops were behind the wall, and they couldn’t care less if the protestors on the other side were standing up or lying down. The reporters looked bored and disillusioned.

“I think it was the desire to redeem themselves after the embarrassment of the die-in that caused the protesters to turn militant. They stood up, pushed toward the wall, and chanted aggressive slogans at the cops.

“Then, one at a time, around a dozen antiwar veterans of the Iraq War jumped over the wall. The cops grabbed them as they went over, cuffed them with flexicuffs, and marched them away. Emboldened, other protestors hopped the wall.

“The police showed great restraint. When older protestors or women went over, the cops offered t heir hand and gently assisted them down off the wall. But after about an hour of this, the cops had had enough. They began pushing back would-be wall jumpers with one of their riot shields. Then when two young men danced a little too long, for the crowd on top of the wall, the police hit them with pepper spray. Blinded and choking, they went over the wall anyway. A protestor taunted the cops, yelling “Ha-ha, they won.” I suppose if you define “winning” as getting gassed and arrested, then yes, the two men won.

“The anarchists really disappointed me. None of them jumped the wall. They portray themselves as the most militant wing of the antiwar movement, but they didn’t even have the guts displayed by the Code Pink grandmas. The anarchists claim to want a revolution, but apparently not a single one of them is willing to risk a misdemeanor arrest to achieve that glorious goal. Instead, they sufficed with yelling a lot of slogans about class war at the cops. This was ironic, seeing as the anarchists were almost certainly all college kids, while the cops were about the only working class people in the entire crowd.

Meanwhile, their die-in having been a big blooper, antiwar activists who never got to Impeach for Peace, will dive deep into the bottom of their trunk of props for better street theatre.

It’s going to take more than plastic surgery to wipe the permanent grins off the faces of the dashing Eagles.

Canada Free Press founding editor


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Judi McLeod -- Bio and Archives | Comments

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Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years’ experience in the print media. A former Toronto Sun columnist, she also worked for the Kingston Whig Standard. Her work has appeared on Rush Limbaugh, Newsmax.com, Drudge Report, Foxnews.com.

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