Quiet protest at Lafayette white crosses

March 19, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A silent statement about the war is speaking volumes tonight. Sixteen months ago -- businesses and community groups in the East Bay set-up 300 white wooden crosses on a hillside in Lafayette, to remember American troops killed in Iraq. On Wednesday, that hillside near the Lafayette BART station was covered with nearly 4,000 crosses -- one for each soldier, Marine or airman who died in the fighting. A small group gathered there tonight for a quiet commemoration.

Fewer than 20 people came out to a hastily-called silent vigil at the crosses in Lafayette.

"Well, I actually almost didn't come myself. I really am wiped out, frustrated and feel like no matter what we do, it doesn't seem to make a dent," said Lois Flood, a protester from Danville.

John Jensen from Kennsington came to honor his nephew, a casualty of war, after he returned home.

"When he returned he killed himself," said Jensen.

Jensen says American soldiers were attacked by suicide bombers and while trying to protect themselves they also killed innocent people.

"And so they tell them to stay back, don't come any closer, they don't understand English, so they would just kill them," said Jensen.

He wonders how many American soldiers are facing the same moral struggle his nephew faced.

"We all have a mindset of who we are and what our values are and the military tries to change that so that you can do what they need you to do, and it doesn't change forever. People flashback and they want to be who they were when they left," said Jensen.

Judith Foley's daughter was a surgical nurse in a combat support hospital.

"She's got a piece of her that will never be okay," said Foley from Walnut Creek.

There was only one person who came to speak out against the protesters. Lisa Disbrow's son is an Army officer.

"I'm sad for the loss, of course. We hope that the war is the path to peace. Because until the enemy is eliminated we will not have peace, " said Lisa Disbrow from Moraga.

Wednesday evening's demonstration was a far cry from the ones that took place here last summer. It was reflective of today's turnout across the Bay Area. Scant compared to the numbers during the first year of the war.