Five Years of Iraq War: Wisconsin Mobilizing Opposition at Events Across State

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MILWAUKEE — Leaders, organizations, activists and citizens across Wisconsin are holding events this week in dozens of cities across Wisconsin in recognition of the fifth anniversary of George W. Bush’s war of choice in Iraq which has cost America nearly 4,000 soldiers, including 84 brave Wisconsinites who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

“The best way to honor our troops is to bring them home as soon as possible,” said Patty Zahler, from MoveOn.org, which is hosting a Wednesday event at the State Capitol in Madison. “The cost of war has been enormous both in lives lost and its toll on our national economy.”

Since the war began five years ago, 84 Wisconsin soldiers have died, 550 troops have been wounded. Over 23,000 troops have been deployed since the war began and currently 3,560 Wisconsin troops are serving in Iraq. Wisconsin’s cost of the war has been over $8 billion, according to the National Priorities Project.

“We are on the verge of 4,000 lives lost and despite this sacrifice, we see our injured veterans having to fight though long delays to get the health care and the benefits their sacrifice has earned from this country,” said Jane Jensen, founder of Military Families for Peace. “This five-year anniversary is not a celebration, but even more reason why we should spend the day working for peace and helping each other.”

Events around the state are scheduled to commemorate the Wednesday, March 19 anniversary of the war’s start. A comprehensive list of many of these events and many others surrounding efforts to end the war is available at the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice’s calendar at: http://www.wnpj.org/event/calendar.

Some of the events planned for Wednesday include:

Appleton: Vigil, sponsored by Fox Valley Peace Coalition. At the corner of College and Appleton Streets. Begins at 5:30 p.m.

Elm Grove: Commemoration, sponsored by the School Sisters of Notre Dame. 13105 Watertown Plank Road. Prayerful reflection and showing of No End in Sight. Begins at 1:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Also includes public prayerful stand along Watertown Plank Road from 4:30 to 5:00 p.m.

Madison: Rally and Vigil, sponsored by various groups beginning at 11 a.m. at the State Street corner of the Capitol Square. Rally will be followed at 11:55 a.m. by a five-minute silent vigil. At 12:00 noon, the Peace Train Parade will march around the Square. Please wear black and bring a candle to light at the vigil.

Madison: Nonviolent Civil Resistance Action organized by Madison Pledge of Resistance. Meet at 11:00 a.m. at Arby’s on East Washington to finalize plans before the action for nonviolent resistance at the military recruiting station near East Towne. Contact Joy at jsfirst@tds.net for more information.

Madison: Drive Time Picket, sponsored by Madison Area Peace Coalition, At the corner of John Nolen Drive, Blair Street and Williamson Street. From 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

LaCrosse: Women in Black Vigil for Peace. Fourth and Main Streets. Begins at 12:00 noon.

Manitowoc: Vigil, sponsored by Lakeshore Peacemakers. At Maritime Drive and 8th Street. From 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Minoqua: Peaceful March, sponsored by Northwood Peace Coalition. Meet at Torpy Park. Begins at 11:50 a.m.

Kenosha: Peace Rally, sponsored by Kenoshans for Peace. At the post office downtown on 7th Avenue. From 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Webster: Vigil. Meeting in the parking lot of Grace United Methodist Church on Hwy. 35 one block north of Main Street.

Duluth: Peace Vigil and Press Conference, sponsored by NAWC. Duluth Civic Center. Begins at 12:00 noon.

Evansville: Candlelight Vigil, sponsored by MoveOn.org. Leota Park along Madison Street, off of Hwy. 14. Begins at 7:00 p.m.

Mazomanie: Vigil, sponsored by MoveOn.org. Stand along Hwy 14 and Brodhead Street. Begins at 4:00 p.m.

In addition to these events on March 19, cities around the state which have already hosted events or will host them this week include: Milwaukee, DePere, Racine, Janesville, Wausau, Sauk City, Sheboygan, Hayward and Dodgeville, as well as others.

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One Wisconsin Now specializes in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.