Last night was the grand culmination of all our efforts here in York, Pennsylvania, when we finally held our Take a Stand Town Hall meeting at the Yorktowne Hotel in York, Pennslyvania.
For some reason, the press release that national sent out to the media said that the meeting was starting at 6, when in actuality it was starting at 7, so the media and a handful of people who had seen television advertisements or received automated phone call came an hour early, while we were still setting up. Luckily, the media stayed until the event was over.
We were expecting perhaps 50 to 75 people, with our high estimate for 80. 120 people came.
But, in my opinion, what was more telling what that not a single person left early, everyone stayed glued to their seats through our amazing lineup of speakers. And the fact that every single speaker stayed under their alloted time, was succinct, and just in general gave us great speeches.
First up was David Gibson, who spoke about the political situation, and how we can organize to end the war. Then came Tim Diehl, a veteran who served in Desert Storm, Afghanistan, and Iraq, and he some great quotes. One such, from the York Daily Record, Diehl said that he “couldn’t under good conscience serve that man in the White House. We can’t continue to squander life and resources by being ideologically stubborn.”
Next up was Sister Monica Imgrund from St. Patrick Parish in York, who spoke from the Catholic perspective and why Catholics are against the war.. She spoke about the pain that the Iraqis face everyday, “ “We need to stop this war, not just for our sake but the sake of the Iraqi people being slaughtered,” she said.
After her was Jason Torpey, who also served in Iraq, and spoke our fiercely against escalation. After her was our keynote speaker, Gold Star Mother Pam Adam, who’s stepson, Brent Allen Adams, was killed in action in Ramadi in December of 2005. I have no words to describe her speech except real, I almost came to tears and I saw many in the crowd wiping away tears, as she spoke about how much one life costs, and how each life lost is a terrible cost. By sheer chance, a member of the audience who had also served in Iraq had known Brett, and worked on the medical team that tried to save his life that day he died, and in the most touching moment of the night, after her speech, when the horrors of war and the meaning of our movement came together as they embraced. The veteran I had met last evening, and he was actually pro-war, but I think he learned that our movement respects those who have served, and that we are not undermining the troops by protesting the war.
At the end, I closed the meeting by calling on everyone to continue to take action, to remember that those in Iraq do not get a break, and that together we can bring our troops home. People stayed and mingled long after the meeting was over, a testament to our strength. I sincerely hope that our work here was not in vain and that people will continue to work to end the war.
Photos coming soon to the photos section!