I am looking for 1000 supportive Americans. More to the point I am looking for 1000 supportive Americans with $25.
If I can't find 1000 Americans with 25 dollars, then 25 Americans with $1000 dollars will do, or any combination of the two.
This is not for me. I am making this request on behalf of the organizers of A Gathering Of Eagles, the March 17 vigil in Washington D.C. to protect the Vietnam War Memorial and other monuments from vandalism from pro-terrorist forces marching on the Pentagon that day.
A Gathering Of Eagles started out barely a month ago as conversations between a few people who were justifiably concerned that attacks on the Capitol and American veterans at a pro-terrorism event in late January would be repeated at the March 17 march on the Pentagon. The gathering point for the pro-terrorism forces is adjacent to the Vietnam memorial and comments from organizers and participants in that spectacle indicate a willingness by some to resort to anarchy and vandalism.
Initially, individual veterans and some vets' organizations were hopeful that we could muster enough support to ring the Vietnam Memorial with a peaceful yet solid wall of humanity to prevent attacks on it. I figured that 500 to 1000 vets and our supporters would suffice.
But once the word went out on the Internet the vigil mushroomed, and Col. Harry G. Riley, (US Army, Ret.) the point man for A Gathering Of Eagles as the vigil has since been formally named, recently made a request for financial assistance. What started as a relatively few determined vets now has grown to a point where the organizers are confidently predicting attendance in the tens of thousands.
That is great! It also carries logistical headaches and expenses. Permits were needed, transportation details must be worked out, there will be a speakers' platform, sound system, tents, website maintenance and updates, the all so necessary port-a-potties - one for each 300 people, and a daily presence by the organizers to ensure that no detail is overlooked.
The Colonel estimated that these arrangements would cost $25,000 and he was among the first to ante up his own money to help defray the costs. I believe the enormous amount of time and energy that Colonel Riley and the other organizers are putting into this event is more than sufficient and they never should have had to put their hands into their own pockets to make this happen.
They would like to be reimbursed when this is all over and the bills have been paid and they should be. They also have promised to donate to charity any monies in excess of what is needed to fund A Gathering Of Eagles. That works for me.
By contrast, I should point out that most commentators who discuss the pro-terrorism march on the Pentagon say it is "well funded." What does that mean exactly?
What it means is that very, very wealthy people, who got their money off the backs of the very veterans who fought to preserve this country and its freedoms, are putting millions of dollars into the march on the Pentagon. Know what they do with those millions?
They pay the expenses of the 'celebrities' who come to denounce the country that made them rich and famous. They pay for media ads. They pay for transportation, housing, food and other expenses for many of the 'spontaneous' marchers who are bussed long distances to spew filth and hatred. Some of these marchers even get paid for their time!
We, on the other hand, meaning those of us who are attending A Gathering Of Eagles, are doing it pretty much on our own dime. Hotels in the DC area have helped by offering discount rate rooms, and I have found transportation companies that are willing to help too.
Some veterans' organizations are contributing to transportation costs, but overall, the bulk of the expenses incurred by those of us heading to Washington on March 17 will come from our own pockets. I haven't heard a single complaint about that.
All I am asking is that Middle America help out the organizers so this vigil can proceed as envisioned. If 1000 Americans can find a spare $25 in their budgets, and can send it to A Gathering Of Eagles, my faith in humanity will remain unshaken.
Me being me, and my attitude about such things being what it is, I might ordinarily take this time to remind America that only 7 percent of the US population are veterans, less than one percent currently serve on active duty, with an even smaller percentage responsible for fighting terrorism on the front lines. I might have pointed out that the rest of America, 93 percent, gets to go about its daily business unruffled and unconcerned thanks to the sacrifices of the veterans and active duty military.
I might have noted that our politicians and political parties have no problem asking us to help them out in every single campaign cycle that comes along.
I even might have pointed out that America has no problem calling on its veterans to ensure its safety, and once again the vets are standing tall for America. The hatred and destruction spewed on our soil and our citizenry by the pro-terrorism forces in our midst have gone well beyond a nuisance for many Americans.
But like Mark Twain once said about the weather, everyone complains about it but no one does anything about it. In another column under different circumstances I might even have said it is time for Middle America to put its money where its mouth is, because once again, America's veterans are standing up for America and doing something about it.
But I decided not to do that this time. I will try a more persuasive approach. I will simply remind Middle America that the freedoms many take for granted are not free, and usually are purchased with the sacrifices, blood and lives of a very small percentage of the general population.
So I am asking, please, help out. Go to http://www.gatheringofeagles.org/ and click on the donation link. It is easy. It only takes a few mouse clicks. There even is an address and related information if you prefer to send a check.
In case you were wondering, yes, I just made my donation too. So now I only need 999 of my fellow Americans to help out. See how that works? Thank You.
Thursday, March 01, 2007