Friday, February 09, 2007

My cousin June and Lt. Watada

June, my first cousin, twice-removed, lives in suburban Seattle, is 86 years old, and grows all her own vegetables. She participates in virtually every peace march in the Puget Sound area and was featured in a front page article in the Seattle Times a few months ago for keeping count of U.S. military deaths since the war on Iraq started.

This fall, June joined a parade in support of 1st Lt. Ehren Watada’s courageous refusal to be deployed to Iraq. As she marched along, a nice looking young man came up to her and engaged her in a conversation. It was Lt. Watada! It’s amazing he even saw her since she’s only 4’ 9” tall.

Last Monday, when the court-marital of Lt. Watada started at Ft. Lewis, Washington, June joined over 1,000 anti-war activists to support him. In her words:

On Monday five of our group took a chartered bus to Tacoma to give support during the trial. Space in the courtroom was very limited, so none of us made it in. I would judge about a thousand attended the rally, people of all ages. Many workers and students had taken the day off to attend. There seemed to be many from out of state too. I met a man from Minnesota who had come especially to give his support to Lt. Watada, others from Florida, Canada, and many from Oregon.

All day there was constant bannering over the I-5 freeway. Near the entrance to Ft. Lewis were speeches by returned Iraqi Vets in support of Lt. Watada; two had spent time in prison as conscientious objectors. Family members of others still in Iraq told their sad stories. The afternoon program ended with street theater planned by young activists.

F.O.R. [Friends for Reconciliation] has planned an event in support of Lt. Watada at the entrance to Ft. Lewis for tomorrow, and I plan to attend.

Yesterday a mistrial was declared in Lt. Watada’s court-martial. June recommends that we watch both for details re next steps for supporters and more news coverage of the case.

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