The number of Iraq War protesters in front of the Post Office in Carbondale was nothing in comparison to the hundreds of thousands that rallied in Washington DC. Yet, the local demonstrators were as enthusiastic about their anti-war sentiment as their Capitol counterparts.
Organized by long-time Carbondale residents 79-year old Jane Veit and her 85-year old husband Dick, the protest was symbol of defiance against President Bush. “Our efforts will show Congress that this is a big deal and we want them to do something,” said Nancy Smith, a local architect.
Janet Johnson was holding a sign that read “One is too many, 21,500 is not enough.” She wasn’t sure if her participation in the protest would do any good. “But I feel so powerless to do anything else against this horrendous wrong,” she sighed.
Within a half hour, the number of demonstrators doubled accompanied by a half dozen dogs and some children. A visiting couple from the Front Range decided to grab signs and join the group. “We thought it would be a good use of our time.”
“It makes me feel better to be here,” Roe Mead commented as she waved to a passenger in a truck. “Even though Carbondale is very liberal, we all need to be reminded about what’s going on in the world. From 380,000 to 650,000 Iraqis have been killed since the U.S. invaded,” she claimed. “This war has been about oil, not terrorism.”
Ann and Sam Johnson were out hoping to make a difference. “This reminds me of when I protested in the 1960’s against the Vietnam War,” Ann reminisced. “My first protest was in my hometown village square in Vermont and my mother knew I had been there before I got home.”
With passing cars honking in support, another protester, Carlos explained his reason for participating: “I am here to change the world by “one more.”
Many of the demonstrators belong to a local organization called “Wake Up Now.” For the past three years on every Monday, members have gathered to raise the town hall flag to half-mast and read off names of the dead American soldiers.
Photos of the Carbondale anti-war rally by Leslie Robinson.