Anti-war group leads Veteran's Day observance listen11/12/07 Mitch E. Perry
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Sunday in downtown Tampa, about 20 people gathered at Joe Chillura Square to observe Veteran's Day in an event was sponsored by the anti-war group Veterans for Peace.
Participants in the demonstration gathered at 11a.m. to read the names of all of the military personnel from Florida killed since the invasion of Iraq began in March 2003.
As part of the invocation, local Muslim activist Pilar Saad read an excerpt from the Koran and then addressed the U.S. war on terror, which is frequently posited as a fight against Islamic extremists.
Although there are recent reports of reduced violence in Iraq, 2007 has been the deadliest year for U.S. troops since the war began.
Riverview resident Bud Holly served in World War II and Korea. As the war drags on, he says heâ€™s disgusted by it all.
Tampa citizen Jon Keifer served in Vietnam. Nearly a year from the next presidential election, heâ€™s cautiously optimistic that a change in Washington will bring about a different strategy in Iraq.
Vietnam vet Bud Holly says it will be a huge burden on whomever is president in 2009.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, about $412-billion has been spent on the Iraq war so far. President Bush is seeking another $196-billion for Iraq and Afghanistan. Congressional Democrats have said they will consider the request next year.
The Democratic Congress has been receiving record low poll ratings. Many analysts say thatâ€™s attributable to the fact that they were elected, in part, to stop the war.
Congress could stop the war if they cut funding for the troops.
A recent Veterans Administration study indicated that veterans account for 1 in 4 homeless people in the country, even though theyâ€™re only 11 percent of the general population. And a recent Harvard study showed that nearly 1.8 million veterans across the country were uninsured and not receiving VA care in 2004.
Some defense analysts have called the military "stretched" and even "broken" because of the number of troops needed in Iraq, Afghanistan and many other parts of the world.
Keifer says itâ€™s hard to fathom what itâ€™s like for soldiers or marines to have to go on repeated tours of duty.