[Sayma-Discuss] Winter Solstice message : Keynote address from Cindy Sheehan at Kent State Massacre commemortation in 2007
freepolazzo at comcast.net
Fri Dec 19 11:36:10 EST 2008
As a Winter Solstice gift this year, I would like to share this wonderful
address by Cindy Sheehan. Cindy speaks her truth very clearly and
unambiguously. I like that in a speaker. While over a year old, it is
The cost of war to civilians is hardly ever discussed. As a child who
came into this world as part of a family of civilians in war, I will never
cease to speak up for those who do not get memorials and medals and health
care for being in a war zone. What we get is loss after loss after loss.
Lost parents and grandparents and uncle and aunts and cousins and neighbors
and children and siblings.
PS: I was living in Columbus Ohio during the Kent State shootings and
aftermath, near the OSU campus where a nightly curfew was imposed. Yet,
we still were able to organize and protest the shootings. The violence
that happened at Kent State, by National Guard troops on American students,
brought to light the true cost of war in a way that helped fortify and bring
in "middle America" to be able to withdraw their support for the American
war on Vietnam.
Kent State 37 years later
by Cindy Sheehan
Kent State 37 Years Later
This is the keynote address Cindy gave on May 04, 2007, at the commemoration
of the Kent State Massacre.
First of all, I would just like to say that I am not only in favor of
impeaching George Bush and Dick Cheney, but of trying them for war crimes
and locking them both up in Guantanamo for the rest of their lives! I also
agree with Tom (Hayden) that an "anti-war" movement is basically a
self-destructive movement, because when our objectives are achieved, the
movement is over. That is why we must call ourselves a "peace" movement so
our movement will never end. There will always be a need for people who
commit their lives to peace as strenuously as they commit their lives to the
I can't begin to tell you how honored I am to have been invited here to
speak on this historic occasion with the other speakers who have also felt
the sting of war and the pain of loss and lingering regrets. I am
indescribably moved to be adopted into the Kent State family and invite you
all down to Camp Casey in Crawford this August to join our family!
Before the program started I took the chance to climb the hill and spend
time at the places where Allison Krauss, Jeff Miller, Bill Schroeder and
Sandy Scheuer each fell and I would like to share some thoughts that I had
up there with you.
My first thought was of the randomness of violence. The four students who
were killed that day just happened to occupy the same space as a National
Guard bullet at the same time. Unlike those wounded, some pretty badly,
those that perished that awful day were struck by the bullets in vitally
important parts of their bodies. The places where the four fell, never to
get up again, are marked in memorium to the stupidity and permanence of
violence. One day, I hope to travel to Sadr City, Baghdad to see and stand
in the spot where my son, Casey's, brain collided with an insurgent's
bullet, taking his life by the same shapeless and dark entity that stole the
life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, on the same day: April 04.
This same entity took the lives of the young people here thirty-seven years
ago, and at: Jackson State a few days later, Virginia Tech, Columbine High
School, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and the myriad of South American
countries that the USA has violently intruded in over the years. This thing,
this force is hatred fueled by ignorance; hatred exploited by the corporate
war machine and hatred perpetuated by the corporate prostitutes that run our
government. Hatred that is systemic and endemic in our society because we
don't see the other side as human-or we see our "enemies" as less human than
ourselves. Kent State is not the first place that bottles, sticks, and rocks
have been met with bullets and tear gas---it happens still notably to our
Palestinian brothers and sisters and before in Northern Ireland among other
places where people are oppressed.
I am sure when the students at Kent State were met with the Ohio National
Guard many years ago they only saw riot gear and the faces of "the man." I
just hung up the phone with a Vietnam combat veteran who at the time had
just returned from a tour of duty in 'Nam. He recalled being ashamed and
disgusted that he wore the same uniform as the National Guard who
slaughtered the students. Soldiers do have hearts and souls and especially
during the Vietnam quagmire many of them understood that their government
was as Martin Luther King Jr had said three years and one month before the
slaughter here: "the biggest perpetrator of violence."
I am also equally sure that the National Guard troops did not see the
students who were their age, their color, their nationality, as their
brothers and sisters. Being so far away they could not look in the eyes of
the young people they were about to murder and see the heart-light there
that matched their own.
Just as in My Lai, Haditha, Fallujah, etc, no one was ever punished for the
crimes against humanity that were perpetrated here on this sacred ground
thirty-seven years ago today. If there is one lesson we failed to learn in
1970 that we must learn today, it's that wearing a uniform, badge, or a
five-thousand dollar suit does not give a person the right or authority to
kill another human being.
1970 was a very turbulent time for this nation and our world, but people,
especially you young people, you need to realize that in this age of
corporate control of the media and the corporate fascism that rules America,
it is more urgent than ever that we put warm bodies on the streets to stop
BushCo and the war machine.
I was 12 years old thirty-seven years ago today. I was aware of the news,
but I was probably more concerned about my softball batting average and
eagerly awaiting the end of another boring school year. Little did I know,
suspect or even fear that I would give birth to a wonderful baby boy named
Casey in nine years and 25 days. If I thought about it, I would hope that my
children would grow up in a country that rejected war and violence---but not
only did I not think of those things, I didn't plan for a future without war
or violence. This is why it is so urgent to do it now for your children and
my own unborn grandchildren that are already so precious to me.
I was honored with the opportunity to stand vigil in the spot where Allison
Krauss fell. I thought of her mother and the pain she felt when she heard
the news and her pain every day since May 04, 1970. I thought of another
life uselessly, tragically, violently, randomly and stupidly cut short. I
thought of the hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis who do not have
memorials to their Bush wasted lives. I renewed my vow to work for peace for
Allison for the rest of my life. Because in the great tradition of Rosa
Parks, Harriet Tubman, St. Joan of Arc, Rachel Corrie and Marla Rudzicka,
Allison stood her ground against injustice and for her sacrifice we will all
Before we can purge our country of the hatred that is fed by greed, we must
purge our own hearts of the hatred that is fueled by bitterness. Let's stand
peacefully, yet firmly and fearlessly in the face of the war machine that
devours our children with their blood soaked hatred.
One speaker before me said that Jesus never started a war. Well Jesus never
started a religion either, no matter what the Catholics or Baptists think;
but what Jesus did start was a non-violent revolution that has been
bastardized by the religious right. Gandhi said: "I like your Christ, but
not your Christians, they are nothing like your Christ!" It was proved here
and elsewhere during the Vietnam anti-war movement that we cannot fight wars
using their tactics or methods: we don't have the firepower that they do and
we have no soldiers or generals. Our country fights wars against drugs,
poverty and terror and our struggle is technically a war against war but we
are humans as are the people we allow our government to kill in our names
using our tax money. We need to forge a non-violent revolution for peace and
struggle to see the heart-lights in the eyes of our enemies so eventually we
Buddhists have a saying that people die twice: once when there bodies die
and once when the last person who remembers them dies. We must not allow our
nation to forget the sacrifices of Casey and Augie (Shroeder, KIA 08/03/06,
whose mom, Rosemary Palmer spoke) and the lessons of Iraq and the criminal
Bush regime as we apparently forgot the lessons of Kent State, Vietnam, and
the criminal Nixon regime. However as long as there is one of us still
standing, shining our heart-lights and working for peace: Allison, Jeff,
Bill, Sandy, Augie and Casey will live forever!
Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc. Casey Sheehan who was killed in Bush's
war of terror on 04/04/04.
She is the co-founder and president of Gold Star <http://www.gsfp.org/../>
Families for Peace and The Camp Casey Peace
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Size: 7360 bytes
Desc: not available
More information about the Sayma-Discuss