Speaking Out

I just got back from another one of my more intense afternoons in history. I spoke at a benefit for the IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against the War) where the movie The Ground Truth was shown. A month ago our art community hosted a similar benefit, showing the movie and both the IVAW and Megan split the proceeds.

Tonight's fund raiser was a bit different. The event was mainly for the IVAW,with a donation jar for Megan,(and oh how generous people were!) and I had been invited to speak. As I mentioned in last night's blog, I have never been quiet about my political views, but out of respect for Megan (as she was there with me at the other events, which were for her) I never publically spoken.

Tonight was different. She was not there. The focus of this afternoon's speech was not political; however, it is did not take a genius to sense my stance. Sometimes silence in itself makes a statement (as lectured to me by Larry on the way there). I spoke from my heart, from a mother who watched her 19 year old daughter go off to war, who saw through the smokes screens of insinuations and lies, and for over a year feared for her daughter's life. The rest is just history, and Megan is amoung the thousands who have come back from war damaged. Some have missing limbs and are easily spotted, others have emotional scars and diseases that eat from the inside out. And most of them are NOT being taken care of by our government.

What startled me most today (while researching and writing my speech) was a site that had the unedited version of the PRESIDENTIAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE REPORT ON
GULF WAR VETERANS' ILLNESSES from 2007, and I discovered that a 23 yr. old Veteran from the first Gulf War died of a similar sarcoma. He was a tank mechanic. Megan was also a mechanic. Coincidence? Read on.

At the benefit, Demond Mullins, (he is in the Ground Truth documentary) member of the IVAW, asked me if Megan had to tow and fix blown up humvees. "Yes", I answered, "in fact the day GW went over there on Thanksgiving Day, Megan and a select few others were sent out on a mission to recover destroyed Humvees...." It was a job she did almost every day. Demond reminded me that those very vehicles were covered in DU (Depleted Uranium), and it was breathed, consumed, and absorbed into the body. He also told me about rectal cancer being a problem for some of the soldiers he knew. The new tumor Megan has is in the rectal area. Easy enough to figure out how it gets into the body. Soldiers have to eat, drink, breathe and shit. Not rocket science.

The audience was silent while I talked. A few times I got sighs of sorrow and empathy. At the end a few friends of mine who did not know what was going on started crying. I had no agenda other than to be real. I sent a healthy child, yes child, off to war; she came home damaged goods. All of these veterans are damaged goods, and they are being deserted and cheated by the very government that made them all kinds of promises.

I am sure that there are diverse views by all of you who read this blog. Whatever your view is, you should see the movie THE GROUND TRUTH. Then imagine it being your child, or your husband, or your lover, or your best friend.

In peace and in black, Patti

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