Thursday, August 31, 2006

Carlos and Melida Arredondo were on Cape Cod Labor Day Weekend!

Carlos Arredondo of Boston, Mass., father of Marine Corps Lance Corp. Alexander Scott Arredondo, who was killed in action on Aug. 25, 2004 in Iraq, is travelling the country with a mobile casket in the back of his truck as a memorial and protest to the war in Iraq. The Arredondo's were here on Cape Cod to tell Alex's story.

Alesander Arrendondo, USMC military boots, dog tags and photo sit on the casket top. Carlos and his wife Melida Arredondo toured Cod Cod from Provincetown to Falmouth on Labor Day weekend! If you want to book them for your event please click on Melida Arredondo's name and e-mail her directly.

Read the present edition of the BAY STATE BANNER to see and hear why Carlos is talking!

For more information call (508) 432-9256

  • They meet with Democracy Now TV host Amy Goodman in Provincetown on Friday September 1, 2006 WOMR's 10 Anniversay Program

  • CCP&J , Veterans for at Peace Vigils Eastham, Wellfleet, Provincetown, Harwich, Hyannis, Sandwich, Bourne.


DATE / TIME: Friday, September 1, 2006, 8 p.m.

CONTACT: Dave Myers, Exec. Dir. / WOMR-FM, 508-487-2619

Doors will open at 7:30 p.m., with the talk beginning at 8:00. Tickets to the event are $15 ($12 for WOMR members), and can be purchased by phone and credit card from the WOMR offices at 508-487-2619, in person from the WOMR office at 494 Commercial Street in Provincetown, or at the door at the Provincetown High School, which is located at 12 Winslow Street in Provincetown. For more information or directions, call WOMR at 508-487-2619.


in Philadelphia, PA Memorial Day 2006!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Democracy Now Transcript of Carlos & Melida Arrendondo interview with Amy Goodman

Wednesday, September 6th, 2006

Father Recounts Burning Marine Van and Himself After Learning of Son's Death in Iraq

For the second year in a row, activists convened in Crawford, Texas this August as President Bush took his late-summer vacation at his ranch. The gathering is called Camp Casey, named for the son of anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan. Casy Sheehan died in Iraq on April 4, 2004.

On Tuesday, Camp Casey followed the President back to Washington, D.C. to launch a new protest gathering: Camp Democracy. It's taking place over the next few weeks on the National Mall. In addition to the Iraq war, the event will also focus on other social justice causes at home and abroad. Events will be held around the rights of immigrants, workers, women, voters and victims of Hurricane Katrina.

On Friday night, as we began our 80 city-Breaking the Sound Barrier tour, we pulled up to Provincetown Highs School. In front of it stood a man and his wife with a coffin. Hanging off of it was an Army jacket and next to it, were Army boots. It was Carlos Arredondo and his wife Melida. They told me about his son, Alexander, who died two years ago in Najaf, on Carlos' 46th birthday. Carlos will be heading to Camp Democracy later today.

  • Carlos Arredondo, his son, 20-year-old Marine Lance Cpl. Alexander S. Arredondo, was killed in Najaf on Aug. 25, 2004.
  • Melida Arredondo, wife of Carlos Arredondo.

- Read Carlos' account in The Nation
- See photos of Alexander Arredondo and his family

This transcript is available free of charge. However, donations help us provide closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing on our TV broadcast. Thank you for your generous contribution.
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AMY GOODMAN: Carlos and Melida join us today from a studio in Boston. We welcome you both to Democracy Now!


MELIDA ARREDONDO: Good morning, Amy.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Carlos, you became a national story, horrifying as it is to say that, two years ago, when you learned of your son's death, who was killed August 25th, 2004. Can you talk about that day and where you were?

CARLOS ARREDONDO: Yeah. That day was my 46th birthday and -- my 44th birthday. I was in Hollywood, Florida, and I was expecting the phone call from my son Alexander who -- he never missed a call for my birthday, and pretty much I was outside my house, waiting for my wife to come home to celebrate my birthday. My mother was at the house.

And the next thing I know, three U.S. Marines, a casualty team, came to my house. And they pretty much parked in front of my house. And for a moment I thought it was a surprise from my son Alex. I thought he was home. And the next thing I know, they are out telling me my son Alexander, Lance Corporal Alexander Arredondo was killed in Iraq, and no scripts for that kind of news. No scripts for that kind of situation. I pretty much spent almost a half-hour asking three different times the U.S. Marine team to leave my house. They never was prepared about the situation. They never asked me to come inside the house. They never supported me or helped me mentally, because I run around the house. I asked three different times to leave my house, and they still not leave my house.

My second time that I attempt to leave, I walk out with a hammer, five pound hammer, to pretty much ask them to leave my house, otherwise I’ll destroy their van, and still nothing happened. My third time, almost half-hour later, I asked them to leave my house. And at that time, you know, I walk out with five gallons of gasoline, a propane torch, and I started destroying the U.S. Marine van that was in front of my house with a hammer and destroy everything, threw everything all over the place and poured it with gasoline and then opened the gas -- propane torch, and which the van blew up with myself inside. Luckily I was near the driving side door, which explosion threw me out to the street on fire, and I get 26% of my body burned. And I’m still suffering that consequences, but I've been speaking --

AMY GOODMAN: Your mother had tried to pull you out of the van before it lit, and that set off the torch in your hand?

CARLOS ARREDONDO: That's correct. My mother was the whole time, was at the door screaming and yelling for help. And she doesn't speak English, but she was yelling so loud, you know, anybody can -- for the help that she was asking, nobody was around. The Marines was in the same spot the whole time. When I tried to reach the driver's side door, because the fumes of the gasoline was very strong, I cannot breathe, pretty much, that's when my mother reached into my hand and pulled me -- tried to pull me out. That's when I pressed the button which ignited the flames. That's when the explosion occurred.

AMY GOODMAN: And at that point -- as we turn to your wife, Melida -- at that point, Melida, you were just pulling up in the car?

MELIDA ARREDONDO: That's right. I had just turned the corner to the house, and I saw ahead something on fire, and I was perplexed. And I thought it was a house, and then I approached. I saw was a van. Then I realized the van was in front of my home, and then on the other side of the street I saw my husband with a Marine sitting on top of him, and my husband was burned.

AMY GOODMAN: What happened next?

MELIDA ARREDONDO: I pulled up. I tried to stop the car right in front, but the Marine said to me, "No, no, no! Go! Go! The van’s going to blow! The van's going to blow!" So I had to drive the car to the corner and then run back, and the van did blow two or three times. And as I approached Carlos, the thing that I noticed the most was his skin. He also had a shirt over his eyes with the Marine on top of him. The shirt was like over his head. And I tried to relax Carlos as much as possible, saying, "Relax, relax. Okay, calm down, calm down."

And finally, the Marine let go, and we got the shirt out from over his head, because my husband couldn't really breathe very well between the pressure and the smell of the smoke and everything. He did have some smoke inhalation. And at that point, we were surrounded by helicopters, press, ambulances, fire trucks, neighbors. It became sensational within seconds.

My mother-in-law said, "Here, here, the phone. It's Brian. It's Brian." She said it in Spanish. And Brian is my younger stepson, and he was with his mom in Maine during that period. And he asked, “Where is dad?” And I said, “Oh my God, Brian! Oh my God! Turn on the TV! Turn on the TV!” He did. He said, “What's going on? There's dad! There's dad!” It was being shown live in Maine, as it was all around the country. And I'm saying to him, “Yes, your father lost it. He couldn't deal with it, you know. Alex is gone and -- I’m sorry, Brian.” He said, “Well, I --“ Brian was basically almost crying, and he said, "Well, I called to wish dad a happy birthday."

AMY GOODMAN: And Brian then was seventeen years old?

MELIDA ARREDONDO: At that time, he was sixteen.

AMY GOODMAN: Sixteen. We're talking to Melida and Carlos Arredondo. Two years ago, Carlos's son, Melida's stepson, died in Najaf in Iraq. That was two years ago, Carlos. After that, what happened? Did you start speaking out right away? How long did it take you? And how long has it taken you to heal physically? And then we can talk about emotionally.

CARLOS ARREDONDO: Well, it pretty much, you know, it took some time, you know, just to deal with the mourning and with Alexander's death and also the issue about me not being an American citizen. I am a legal resident, and so I was trying not to get in trouble with that issue, because I might be deported. At the time when I was in the hospital, I thought I was going to be ended up in Guantanamo, because, you know, I pretty much targeted a U.S. government property.

And all that was taken care. I am still speaking out pretty much. Almost a year later, we started speaking out. And when the 2,000 casualty, whose name was Alexander also, that's when pretty much I put together my display that have been going across country, bringing to cities and towns, to Washington, to the Congress and everywhere I can, like asking people have a little bit of feelings about all this nonsense war.

AMY GOODMAN: Carlos, before we talk about the coffin that you take around the country, I wanted to go back to this issue of you being legal resident, an immigrant from Costa Rica?


AMY GOODMAN: Now, you have applied for citizenship but have not gotten it, even after your son died in Iraq?

CARLOS ARREDONDO: No, because the reason is everybody got to wait in line. And when I moved from Massachusetts to Hollywood, Florida, I ended up moving my documents to my new state, and so I ended up going to the last of the list -- line. And then when I move back to Massachusetts for my son's burial, also to come back to Massachusetts, my citizenship application ended up being once again in line, in the bottom line of all those applications that are waiting. And at this point, I’m not too sure where my number is right now in that line.

AMY GOODMAN: I’m looking at a letter. At Provincetown High School, you had the coffin in the back of a pickup truck. You had the Army jacket, the Army boots of your son Alex, and you have a whole display and a notebook of different letters. Among them is a letter from Alex that he wrote from sea as he was being shipped out to Kuwait, dated January 19th, 2003, right before the invasion. He writes, “I’m not afraid of dying. I’m more afraid of what will happen to all the ones I love if something happens to me.” When did you receive that letter?

CARLOS ARREDONDO: Well, we received that letter -- that was his first letter home on the way to war. He was being transported in the Dubuque, this Naval ship that was on the way to Kuwait. And pretty much, as soon as I received that letter, I started sharing that letter to friends and family and people that crossed my way, to let them know if they can support Alex by writing him back, and pretty much I started then sharing these feelings and emotions.

MELIDA ARREDONDO: But you ask an interesting question, Amy. Actually --

AMY GOODMAN: Yes, Melida.

MELIDA ARREDONDO: There are -- there's a lot of communication blackouts, and at the beginning of the war -- I’m sure we weren't the only anxious family in the United States -- we didn't hear from Alex. So that letter was not the first communication. He wrote it before the war, as he was on the USS Dubuque, but what we actually heard first was Alex's voice on an NPR radio show by John Burnett, and it was totally a coincidence. We were on our way to walk our dogs in a local park, and the radio came in and we were listening because it was about Iraq. And then all of a sudden, John Burnett said, “And here I am with Lance Corporal Alex Arredondo.” Oh, my goodness! That was early March, mid-March. And then the letter arrived late March.

AMY GOODMAN: We're going to break. When we come back, I want to ask you about Brian, your younger son, who, as we talked on Friday night in Provincetown, Massachusetts, not that far from Walpole, where you live, you'd said is being aggressively recruited himself, now 19 years old, by the National Guard. We're talking with Melida and Carlos Arredondo. They lost their son two years ago, August 25th, 2004, in Najaf. Carlos heads today to Camp Democracy in Washington, D.C. He will be one of the first people to speak tomorrow on the National Mall. Stay with us.


AMY GOODMAN: We're joined in Massachusetts by Carlos and Melida Arredondo, who lost their son Alex, Lance Corporal Alex Arredondo, killed in Najaf, August 25, 2004. Carlos, you have been pulling a coffin, whether in a pickup truck, as I saw you in Provincetown, or across the capital in Washington, D.C., in Waco and Crawford, you just came from -- the coffin that symbolizes the death of your son. Can you talk about this display that you carry and all that you have in it?

CARLOS ARREDONDO: Well, I’m trying to honor my son Alexander and trying to do it as personal as I can. I cannot speak up for any other family. But also, I want to remind the American people for all those fallen heroes that we already lost, the American fallen heroes, at the same time, when I speak, I remind people, all the people who have been killed in Iraq, remember them and honor them and do something about this nonsense war. I also want people to understand and remember there is NATO forces. We almost have 250 NATO forces from El Salvador, Australia, England, Spain, you know, all these people who sacrifice their lives, and we need to remember them.

And the way I’m going around the country from the west coast to the east coast and letting know people what the situation happened to me in this case, how my son was recruited, how the notification team deal with my situation, and how it's been for ourself. Not all the families in this country, the Gold Star Families speaking out, it's very hard for them to come out and deal with the situation, but in my case, in Massachusetts, we have two families right now speaking out: the Lucey family and Arredondo family right now. We are working very hard to share our story to the American people. We have more than 50 casualties right now in Massachusetts. On Wednesday, we bury one more soldier here at home. Just last night, we lost one more soldier in Iraq from Massachusetts. And this is getting out of hand. And we don't even know the number in Iraq and Afghanistan or the citizens that’s been killed.

And my purpose of me traveling around the country is to let know people that we are fighting an immoral war. This administration has been pretty much doing their own thing their own way. And I’m coming from a third world country, Costa Rica. Right there, we have a free care for all. All by selling bananas and coffee, school for all the kids. So I am meeting with senators and congressmen to let them know there is something wrong with our picture, because being from a third world country, we can handle that situation. Why can this country cannot do it?

Also, one of the messages I got from people in the Congress, senators and congressmen, is pretty much that we need to draft this up together and let know the American people that we need to vote. 5% of the American people is what we have in the world. And when they make the wrong mistake, everybody in the world pay the big price. And right now, everybody paying the price for this nonsense war.

AMY GOODMAN: One of the things you showed me was a letter from the Army National Guard, and I wanted to read an excerpt of it, that came to your son Brian. It begins, “Dear American.” And it starts off by talking about why it's important to be in the National Guard, to serve in situations like Katrina, interestingly enough, where people said the National Guard didn't show up, because they were in Iraq. But it goes on to say, “You could be eligible for an enlistment bonus of up to $20,000 for joining the Army National Guard. What can you do with $20,000? A new car? Pay off credit cards? Help your family? It’s up to you. It’ll be your money, money earned by making a commitment to serve your country. Remember, the decision you make right now will have a huge impact on how the rest of your life turns out.”

Melida, I wanted to ask you about this letter and about the recruitment of your younger son, of Brian.

MELIDA ARREDONDO: Brian was planning to be a Marine. He always looked to Alex for guidance and wanted to follow his big brother's footsteps. Obviously, with losing Alex, he's really questioned that decision. At this point, Brian has not continued with high school yet. He has not completed it. However, the military has changed the rules, and you do not have to have a high school diploma or a GED anymore. You can earn it by going into the military and getting it after a period of time.

However, Brian and I and his dad and everybody who knows him has spoken to him long about this. And one of the things that I pointed out to him is, Alex trusted his brothers-in-arms and Uncle Sam to take really good care of him. Alex did everything right. And still, he was killed. Alex was killed by a shot to the left temple. It calls to question -- he did have his helmet on. It calls to question the adequacy of the gear that he had on. And that really got Brian thinking, along with all the other conversations that people -- he had with other people.

Brian tells me that he's received items from recruiters in malls, on the streets. He has hats, backpacks, lighters. They have gone all out in their marketing, and Brian pretty much has a pretty big collection of items that have been given to him to try to get him interested.

AMY GOODMAN: Let me ask you about Brian. Carlos, how would you feel if he decided to enlist?

CARLOS ARREDONDO: Well, it’s a lot that covers Brian from not to go there, but doesn't mean he cannot join if he want to. Of course, if he want to, I’m just going to try to do my best for him not to go. And pretty much, I’m telling him he know what we doing. I also, you know, am telling him the tactics the government was using on young girls and kids to pretty much seduce them. They say “volunteer, volunteer,” but I call it “seducing.” They seduce them with all these gizmos and all these offers of money and all that. They are walking around high schools, and everybody know how the tactics are, pretty much.

And pretty much, I’m telling Brian how they pretty much have been targeting now the immigrants. You know, the immigrants right now has been offered that kind of money and also the citizenship. And we already have a big amount, a number of immigrants who are fighting right now in Iraq for the citizenship. So, me helping Brian by giving this information, I just hope he not to go there. But if he feels the need for him to go there, as a father, I will support him all the way, and God protect him and myself. And I just hope for him to make the right choice and not to go.

AMY GOODMAN: Melida, how is Brian doing? He's 19 now, lost his role model, his big brother.

MELIDA ARREDONDO: Brian, himself, says, you know, “I’m bored.” Bored equals depressed. He's had a hard time holding a job, and he hangs out on the block, as I call it, with his pals or whatever. Last week I was with him and a friend, and his friend has taken the ASVAB, which is the exam to go into the military. And that has me concerned, because now his friends are his role models. Brian has told Carlos that he does not want to go in, because he doesn't want to see the same thing happen to his family that happened, you know, when Alex was killed. However, you know, he's at an age where his friends mean a lot to him. And finding out that this friend was interested in going into the Army did not make me feel as good about it as previously.

AMY GOODMAN: You live in Walpole, Massachusetts. It's known for the big prison there.

MELIDA ARREDONDO: Actually, we live in Roslindale, but that's where Alex is buried.

AMY GOODMAN: When I spoke to you on Friday night, you talked about your concerns about the options for young people, particularly young people of color right now.

MELIDA ARREDONDO: Yeah. The block, as we call it -- I live in Dorchester. I work in Roslindale. It's a part of the city of Boston. Brian is basically hanging out in different parts of town. And there's been a lot of violence this year in the city of Boston and outlying areas. Unfortunately, Boston now has been cast as a high place for crime. There were seven murders in seven days in the city of Boston, right in the vicinity of where I work and where my family and I often are together doing different events. And it has us all concerned.

Brian and Alex both have always said, “Don't worry, don't worry. We'll be fine, we'll be fine.” There's no way we can't worry about this. I believe that -- not just believe, but we know that there are three things that recruiters look for: people are who are low-income, people of Hispanic dissent, and people who come from single female-headed households. I found out this information with my husband from the GAO website after Alex was killed.

AMY GOODMAN: We're going to have to leave it there. But I want to thank you both very much for joining us. We will certainly continue to follow events at Camp Democracy, Carlos, where you’re headed today, speaking out there tomorrow. Carlos and Melida Arredondo, I want to thank you very much for joining us and condolences on the death of your son, on the death of Marine Lance Corporal Alexander S. Arredondo, who died on August 25, 2004, Carlos's 46th birthday. He died at the age of 20 years and 20 days.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

US Marines to deplay 2,500 more troops!

Marines to deploy up to 2,500 in Individual Ready Reserve

By Jeff Schogol, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Wednesday, August 23, 2006

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Marine Corps will mobilize up to 2,500 Marines in the Individual Ready Reserve to go downrange, said Guy A. Stratton, head of Manpower and Mobilization Plans.

Those called up can expect to be mobilized for 12 to 18 months, with a maximum service time of two years, Marine officials said.

Servicemembers in the IRR have left active duty but still have time on their obligation to serve. Unlike other reserve component troops, they do not drill.

For the past few years, the Marines have used volunteers from the IRR, but the number of Marines volunteering to be mobilized has decreased over the past two years, and now the Marine Corps is about 1,200 Marines short of its needs, Stratton said.

“Most of the Marines when we call and talk to them will have told us that, ‘If you need me, call me, but right now, I just, I’m doing other things in my life, so I just don’t want to volunteer right now,’ ” Stratton said.

Of the roughly 59,000 Marines in the IRR, about 35,000 are eligible to be mobilized because the Marine Corps is excluding those who have already volunteered for duty or who are serving their first or fourth years in the IRR, Stratton said.

He said the Marine Corps is looking at mobilizing Marines in the following specialties: communications, engineers, military police, intelligence, aviation mechanics, truck drivers and infantry.

The Marines have called up about 4,500 members of the IRR since 2003, but almost 2,700 of them were volunteers for the initial part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Most did not go to Iraq because of the short duration of the initial invasion, Stratton said.

The Army has also called up soldiers from the IRR since January 2004.

According to the U.S. Army Reserve, approximately 14,000 soldiers on IRR status have been called to active duty since March 2003 and about 7,300 have been deployed to Iraq, The Associated Press reported recently.

The Army struggled to bring IRR soldiers back initially. Half of the Individual Ready Reserve members given orders in 2004 by the Army asked for either a delay or an exemption to the order, according to a report in Stars and Stripes from January 2005.

Hundreds of other IRR members failed to show up at deployment stations when ordered to do so, the story noted.

Poll: Opposition to Iraq war at all-time high

Monday, August 21, 2006; Posted: 5:54 p.m. EDT (21:54 GMT)
President Bush Monday said he does not follow polls when making policy decisions.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Opposition among Americans to the war in Iraq has reached a new high, with only about a third of respondents saying they favor it, according to a poll released Monday.

Poll: Opposition to Iraq war at all-time high

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Opposition among Americans to the war in Iraq has reached a new high, with only about a third of respondents saying they favor it, according to a poll released Monday.

Just 35 percent of 1,033 adults polled say they favor the war in Iraq; 61 percent say they oppose it -- the highest opposition noted in any CNN poll since the conflict began more than three years ago.

Despite the rising opposition to the war, President Bush said the U.S. will not withdraw from Iraq while he is president.

"In this case, it would give the terrorists and extremists an additional tool besides safe haven, and that is revenues from oil sales," the president said. "Leaving before the job is done would be a disaster," he said. (Full story)

A bare majority (51 percent) say they see Bush as a strong leader, but on most other attributes he gets negative marks. (Interactive: Poll results)

Most Americans (54 percent) don't consider him honest, most (54 percent) don't think he shares their values and most (58 percent) say he does not inspire confidence. (Complete poll results -- PDF)

Bush's stand on the issues is also problematic, with more than half (57 percent) of Americans saying they disagree with him on the issues they care about.

That's an indication that issues, not personal characteristics, are keeping his approval rating well below 50 percent.

Majority disapprove of Bush

Bush's disapproval rating exceeds his approval, 57 percent to 42 percent.

That's in the same ballpark as was found in an August 2-3 poll: Bush garnered a 40 percent approval.

And that was up slightly from a 37 percent approval in a poll carried out June 14-15.

Fewer than half of respondents (44 percent) say they believe Bush is honest and trustworthy; 54 percent do not.

And just 41 percent say they agree with Bush on issues, versus 57 percent who say they disagree.

Americans are about evenly split on whether their commander-in-chief understands complex issues, with 47 percent saying yes, and 51 percent saying no.

Democrats enjoy lead

Bush's tepid ratings do not bode well for his party's odds in the coming congressional elections. Asked which party's candidate they would vote for if the elections were held today, 52 percent of respondents cited the Democratic Party's; 43 percent the GOP's.

Bush dismissed a question about his popularity during a news conference Monday.

"I don't think you've ever heard me say: 'Gosh, I better change positions because the polls say this or that,'" he told reporters. "I've been here long enough to understand, you cannot make good decisions if you're trying to chase a poll."

He added, "I'm going to do what I think is right, and if, you know, if people don't like me for it, that's just the way it is."

The poll of 1,033 Americans was carried out for CNN by Opinion Research from Friday through Sunday.

The polls had sampling errors of plus-or-minus 3 points.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

For veteran Tammy Duckworth, latest fight is for a House seat

MAJ. TAMMY DUCKWORTH: The Iraq veteran from Illinois has the best shot at a win.

Wounded in the Iraq war, the Democratic newcomer is heating up the race in Chicago's Republican suburbs

I was proud to respond when my country called, and I have no regrets. But from a policy perspective, invading Iraq was a mistake. We should have focused our military resources instead on pursuing the terrorists who attacked our country and on capturing Osama Bin Laden. Not only did we misdirect our human and financial resources; we squandered an enormous amount of international goodwill that we acquired after 9/11."
From her Campaign Website. She is running for US Congress. CCN

Veterans for Peace Draft Statement

The world is not at peace! It is time for peace to lead the way.

We hope to bring together policy makers, community leaders, mediators, parents, clergy, students, activists, media folks, artists, film makers, educators, nonprofit organizations, and others - to explore how diverse peace actors can work together to increase their impact. We reach across all political spectrum and parties as well as to any non-aligned individuals and groups. Please take a stand today and join us in this effort! War is not the answer!

A public program will be held Friday evening, October 13 (the day before Arlington East) at Nauset Regional High School in Eastham. We plan this to be a speak out format along with an international music program.

On Saturday, October 14th, Cape Codders for Peace and Justice and Veterans for Peace Cape Cod Chapter plan a day of action by building ‘Arlington East’ on Cape Cod National Seashore, Eastham, MA to memorialize those who have died in Iraq. Similar to ‘Arlington West’ in Santa Monica, CA, and ‘Arlington South’ in Crawford, TX, grave markers will represent each American soldiers who has been killed in Iraq. Iraq civilian deaths will be represented. An interdenominational service will be held at noon.

This installation shall be, in earnest, a very respectful and yet inspiring presence for all of us to reflect on war and it's cost in human assets. Please work and pray for peace now! Our collective desire is to address the global anxiety about global conflicts and to find commonality and shape positive action, going beyond politics. The ocean setting should be honored as a sacred place and a sacred time of remembrance and reconciliation for all the victims of war. If you wish to join us and or even Co-sponsor this event contact any one of us. War is not the answer.

There will be another organizing committee meeting next coming Wednesday, August 30, 2006, at 6:30 p.m., at Borders Books on Rte. 132. Please feel free to come and join us to plan this regional and GLOCAL event. Please consider Co-sponsoring this event as an individual, organization, church or community group. Veteran's for Peace is a not-for-profit non-governmental organization. Contributions are tax deductible.


WHEN: October 13,- 14, 2006

WHERE: Cape Cod Nation
al Seashore

This event will be disAbility accessible!
Ramp goes from parking lot to beach, public transportation (The Flex Route) Cost $1. or 50 cents if you are 60+ , or have a disAbility. A bike path serves this venue. We will try to arrange to have a shuttle vehicle at the Salt Pond Visitors center, please leave the 25 parking spots at Coast Guard Beach for those with special license plates. We also will need bathrooms opened or provided for back at Salt Pond vistors center.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

George W the 1st

“My first wish is to see War, this plague to mankind, banished from this earth.”

- General George Washington, First President of the United States, 1796.

How to do Arlington East? Let's ask Arlington West Organizers!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

First Cape Cod Native Killed in Iraq

Thursday, August 17, 2006

By Matt Millham, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Friday, July 28, 2006

Sgt. Mark R. Vecchione, Company B, 1st Battalion, 37th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, was killed in Iraq July 18

FRIEDBERG, Germany — Sgt. Mark R. Vecchione avoided death one time — but fell squarely in its path seconds later.

Vecchione, 25, of Eastham, Mass., a member of Company B, 1st Battalion, 37th Armor Regiment — part of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division — was recently given command of a tank of his own.

But, on July 18, he volunteered to fill in as gunner on another tank as it was about to roll out on a mission in Ramadi, Iraq. During the operation, a roadside bomb explosion set fire to the front fuel cell of Vecchione’s borrowed ride.

Remarkably, every member of the crew made it through the blast without a scratch. But with the front of the vehicle engulfed in flames, they were forced to abandon it.

Under normal procedures, Vecchione would have been one of the first people to get off. But he was the last, jumping right onto another roadside bomb.

“If he’d jumped three feet to the left or three feet to the right, this wouldn’t have happened,” said Capt. Jason Irwin, the company commander, who considered his former soldier and gunner a friend. Nobody else was injured.

It was an astonishing stroke of bad luck that ended the life of this soldier, whom colleagues and superiors said could have made sergeant major of the Army.

Hundreds of mourners packed the chapel at Ray Barracks on Wednesday to honor the fallen soldier.

“Anyone who even knew his name, that’s who’s going to miss him,” said Sgt. Jason Sawyer, one of Vecchione’s closest friends.

Sawyer and others spoke of Vecchione’s indomitable work ethic, unflinching optimism and reputation for perfection, which made him somewhat of a legend in the battalion.

During the unit’s first deployment to Iraq in 2003, Vecchione was assigned to work in the battalion’s tactical operations center as a radio telephone operator. He would rather have been doing his regular job as a tanker, but the leadership wouldn’t let him go because he was so good at the job, said Staff Sgt. Scott Ramen, who worked with Vecchione during that deployment.

“That’s why he was determined to get his stripes, because they’d have to let him back on a tank,” Ramen said.

Despite the fact Vecchione considered his radio job boring, Ramen and Sawyer said they never once saw him without a smile on his face.

“He was a soldier’s soldier,” Sawyer said.

When the unit got back to Germany, Vecchione got his sergeant stripes and was made Irwin’s gunner. The position is given to the best gunner in the company, and brings with it the responsibility of commanding the tank in the commander’s absence.

“Sergeant Vecchione used to joke that it was his tank, and he only let Captain Irwin ride in it sometimes,” Sawyer said.

Vecchione’s crew was quickly recognized as the best in the battalion.

“Officers used to go to him for advice on making their crews better,” Sawyer said.

Officers don’t usually ask for advice from lower enlisted, he said.

Not long after he got to Iraq, Vecchione’s excellence earned him another promotion — he was given command of a tank of his own.

He addressed the possibility of his own death on his Web page. A questionnaire posted on it asks, “Goal you would like to achieve this year?”

Vecchione answered, “Making it home alive.”

To the question, “How do you want to die?” Vecchione answered, “With as little pain as possible.”

The questionnaire also asked, “Do you believe in yourself?”

“Of course,” Vecchione responded. “Who else would.”

He sorely underestimated his influence on his friends and colleagues.

“Nobody’s going to talk about the deceased badly,” Sawyer said, admitting that troops killed in war are sometimes lionized for their sacrifice even if they weren’t fantastic soldiers. “But Sergeant ‘Vecc’ was the kind of guy who, no matter how hard you looked, you couldn’t find anything wrong with him.”

© 2006 Stars and Stripes. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Alexander Arredondo USMC

Lance Cpl. "Dondo" Alexander Arredondo USMC


Day is done, gone the sun,
From the hills, from the lake,
From the sky.
All is well, safely rest,
God is nigh.

Go to sleep, peaceful sleep,
May the soldier or sailor,
God keep.
On the land or the deep,
Safe in sleep.

Love, good night, Must thou go,
When the day, And the night
Need thee so?
All is well. Speedeth all
To their rest.

Fades the light; And afar
Goeth day, And the stars
Shineth bright,
Fare thee well; Day has gone,
Night is on.

Thanks and praise, For our days,
'Neath the sun, Neath the stars,
'Neath the sky,
As we go, This we know,
God is nigh.

WIKIPEDIA -Arlington West refers to the "temporary cemetery" itself, as well as Veterans for Peace's project of installing the temporary memorial. The name comes from the name of the national cemetery of the United States, Arlington National Cemetery, a burial place of honor for fallen war heroes. Arlington National Cemetery is the location of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and is also the final resting place for John F. Kennedy. Arlington West -- in a manner similar to "real" cemeteries -- is intended by the project organizers to be a place to mourn, reflect, contemplate, grieve, and meditate, to honor and acknowledge those who have lost their lives, and to reflect upon the costs of war.
The memorial in Santa Barbara, California, which was first put together on November 2, 2003, is installed each Sunday by a team of volunteers on the beach immediately west of Stearns Wharf. Visitors walking to the tourist attractions on the wharf have a clear view, from the boardwalk, along the beach with the white crosses in the foreground. From the walkway, visitors can see a flag-draped coffin and more than 2000 crosses, made of wood, which are intended to resemble and represent traditional military grave markers. In addition to the simulated graveyard, a placard listing all the fallen American military personnel since the U.S. invaded and occupied Iraq is prominently displayed; this list is updated weekly. Adjacent to the placards is a sign containing the message: "If we were to put up a cross for each Iraqi person killed, the numbers of crosses would fill the entire beach."
Although there is no way of knowing the various faiths or philosophies of the many people who died, the cross (a common symbol of Christianity) was selected to used as a marker.

The original Arlington West memorial, Santa Barbara, California; the USS Ronald Reagan is in the background
The second Arlington West was installed in Santa Monica, California on February 15, 2004, a Sunday. It was built on the sand just north of the pier at Santa Monica Beach, "as a way to acknowledge the costs and consequences of the addiction to war as an instrument of international policy" (quote from Veterans for Peace). Like the initial memorial in Santa Barbara, it has been reinstalled each Sunday since its inception.
Similar memorials have also been installed on other beaches on the West Coast of the U.S..
On December 14, 2003 Arlington West Santa Barbara was illuminated by 455 candles in red cups for the city's annual Parade of Lights. The cups glowed a blood red while the light projected upward from the cups caused the white crosses to glow in a flickering, living light. Photojournalists on hand commented that the sight of the illuminated memorial "upstaged the Parade of Lights" (boats in the harbor decked out in Christmas lights). The display drew thousands of spectators during the two hours the candles burned.
Veterans For Peace, an official non-governmental organization (NGO) founded in 1985 includes men and women veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and other conflicts, as well as peacetime veterans. The group has published a 'how-to' for organising, planning and constructing and erecting Arlington West. Several other Memorials have been erected by chapters of Veterans for Peace and other groups.

In the spring and summer of 2005, a similar Arlington West display was taken on a U.S. tour, being installed at places such as Ohio's Kent State University (for the 35th commemoration of the tragedy of May 4, 1970), as well as at "Camp Casey," the site of anti-war protestor Cindy Sheehan's vigil outside the ranch of President George W. Bush near Crawford, Texas.

Veterans for Peace Cape Cod Chapter

Veterans for Peace, Inc. (VFP) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) educational and humanitarian organization dedicated to the abolishment of war.

We, having dutifully served our nation, do hereby affirm our greater responsibility to serve the cause of world peace. To this end we will work, with others (a) Toward increasing public awareness of the costs of war (b) To restrain our government from intervening, overtly and covertly, in the internal affairs of other nations (c) To end the arms race and to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons(d) To seek justice for veterans and victims of war(e) To abolish war as an instrument of national policy.

To achieve these goals, members of Veterans For Peace pledge to use non-violent means and to maintain an organization that is both democratic and open with the understanding that all members are trusted to act in the best interests of the group for the larger purpose of world peace.

We urge all people who share this vision to join us.
Our membership is comprised of veterans from all wars spanning from The Spanish Civil War to the Gulf War, and the Iraq War. These members are distributed amongst 135 nationwide chapters, and dozens of international affiliations. Our international activities include working with our affiliations in El Salvador, Russia, Canada, Japan, Guatemala, Viet Nam, the Netherlands, Chiapas (Mexico), France, England, Cuba, Nicaragua, Vieques (Puerto Rico), and numerous others. A member of the Nobel-Peace Prize winning Coalition to Ban the Sale and Use of Landmines, VFP has been undertaking arduous tasks since its inception. From bringing medical aid to Central American nations, to evacuating wounded children from war-torn Bosnian hospitals and securing medical treatment elsewhere around the globe, or just sitting down with American high school kids so that they may make choices for themselves based on reality, and not myth. We remain firmly committed to the abolition of war.We know the consequences of American foreign policy because once, at a time in our lives, so many of us carried it out. We find it sad that war seems so delightful, so often, to those that have no knowledge of it. We will proudly, and patriotically, continue to denounce war despite whatever misguided sense of euphoria supports it.

1985 - 2005 Twenty Years of Waging Peace

Veterans for Peace
Cape Cod - Chapter 41

Duke Ellis (508) 420-5532

Dr. Nancy Clarke (508) 385-8636

Bob Silverman (

John Brewster Hopkins (774) 836-6403