Writer has mixed feelings about war in Iraq, protest

Hallie Thomas

Hallie Thomas

I attended my first anti-war protest this past week.

A mixed band of social outcasts and concerned tourists decided to congregate in front of the University Student Union to make a statement against the war.

With nothing to lose, some demonstrators voiced opinions laced with accusations, while others used their presence to get their message across.

The demonstrators wore Freedom ribbons and white arm bands with a pride that accentuated the sense of their collective concern.

Their quotes were carefully made as questions were asked and people smiled as the sun broke through for the first time in days.

Most of the protesters were students, kids I have known for years, who, like me, enjoy the fresh awareness which higher education had given us.

It was a good crowd, but I felt I didn’t belong.

I had the white arm band. I had the freedom ribbon. I had all the proper souvenirs, but not the proper sentiment.

These past few months, I have watched another group of students prepare for war. The soldiers of my generation, every bit as much my colleagues and peers as the protesters, have put their lives willingly on hold to do the jobs they promised.

Despite facing an uncertain future, I have yet to hear any of them complain about having to leave the safety of American soil.

In the debate of what our country should do, each side has accused the other of ignoring our troops.

The government begs us to support the troops and the duties they have been ordered to perform. The protesters argue it is unnecessary that our soldiers be asked to sacrifice their lives for a diplomatic failure. The only point of agreement is that this may be a long campaign with significant loss of life.

To be honest with you, I don’t know who to trust or what to believe. This war is neither hot nor cold and I wish I could just spit it out, but I can’t.

I left the protest early. I glory in their passion and I wish them all well. But right now, I just want to watch the news and pray it will soon be over.

Reach Hallie Thomas at [email protected].