Thank you again to all.....................
Georgians Silent for War Heroes
Web Editor: Tracey Christensen
Web Editor: Sean Rowe
Last Modified: 8/18/2005 1:26:20 PM
Hundreds of citizens and soldiers who gathered in the rotunda of the Georgia Capitol Thursday were joined in a moment of silence by school children, civilians, and public servants across the state.
Moments before the 1 p.m. service, Gov. Sonny Perdue called the prayer vigil to order before a crowd of military veterans, active duty soldiers, and grieving family members.
"Today all Georgians come together as one family, one people, one state. We come to lay aside the clutter of our day-to-day activities, those things that bother us. We lay aside our personal concerns and bow out heads, our hearts united to pray for the repose of those we have lost," he said.
The silent vigil was followed by a prayer service led by rabbis and local ministers of varying faiths as bag pipes played out "Amazing Grace." Among those in the rotunda of the Capitol are the grieving families who have lost their husbands, wives, sons and, daughters during the war in Iraq.
"We pray for our fallen heroes, our protectors and defenders, the men and women of Georgia who have made that ultimate sacrifice for the cause of duty, honor and country. We gather to remember and to honor them, to give thanks for their service and for their lives and to comfort, uphold, and support their families who have lost so much," said Perdue.
Perdue also asked that prayers go out for the troops still serving in Iraq. "We pray for their safe and sure and soon return home. Above all, we pray for peace."
Flags on public buildings were lowered to half staff in observance in Georgia's day of remembrance for those who lost their lives in Iraq.
Members of the Georgia National Guard 48th Brigade, which recently lost 16 soldiers, participated in the silent observance. Three members of the 48th brigades Douglasville unit were killed just Monday in a Humvee accident. A fourth died Tuesday when he stepped on an explosive south of Baghdad.
Thursday’s observations come a day after friends and families who’ve lost men and women serving in the U.S. military gathered together, standing side by side, to lift up candlelight at dusk throughout Metro Atlanta.
In Decatur, one of many silent vigils organized by the liberal political action group MoveOn.org, dozens of Atlantans marked their solidarity against the hundreds of American lives already lost to the increasingly bloody war in Iraq. The effort was designed to show support for Cindy Sheehan, or “Peace Mom,” as she’s become known.
Sheehan, whose son was killed while serving in the U.S. military in Iraq, has maintained a constant vigil outside President Bush’s Texas ranch until he agrees to speak with her about the war in Iraq. Bush has steadfastly refused to grant her an audience, instead sending his aides to speak to her.
Back in Atlanta, Patricia Roberts, of Decatur, Ga., spoke out about her opposition to the war after losing her son, Jamaal Addison, shortly after the war began.
“Enough of them have gone to Heaven and now it’s time to come home,” said Roberts, whose son was killed about two-and-a-half years ago. She says she plans to join Sheehan’s Texas protest within a few days.
Jan Johnson, of Rome, Ga., also lost her son to Iraq and has something directly in common with Cindy Sheehan –her son, Justin, and Addison served in the same military unit. They were best friends who died a week apart.
However, unlike Sheehan, Johnson says she’s always supported America’s military efforts in Iraq and thinks pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq now would mean their sons died in vain.
“There’s a bunch of us who believe that we do need to stay the course,” Johnson said. “We do need to stay over there and make our kids’ deaths count for something.”
Meanwhile, Johnson holds out hope for her husband, who will soon be going to Iraq with Georgia’s National Guard Unit. Their only other son is also serving in the U.S. Army.