Glenwood Springs anti-war vigil draws 50 on Iraq anniversary
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” The candles in their hands illuminated some of the sadness on their faces.
About 50 people from the area huddled inside Centennial Park in downtown Glenwood Springs for a peace vigil Wednesday to honor the almost 4,000 American soldiers and the untold thousands of Iraqi civilians who have died in Iraq since the war started five years ago.
Barbara Orcutt, 54, a substitute teacher at Glenwood High School, said she came to the ceremony because she loves her country, but “believes this war is wrong.”
“I think this country has come a long way in supporting the soldiers, while still disagreeing with this war,” said Orcutt, who was with her husband, Allen Orcutt, 64, a Marine who served in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969.
The Glenwood Springs vigil, organized by the Roaring Fork Peace Coalition, was one of many events across the country that marked the fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Anti-war protests were scheduled in Washington, D.C., where demonstrators vowed to block the entrance to the Internal Revenue Service and to disrupt the offices of lobbyists who represent military contractors and oil companies profiting from the war. College students from New Jersey to North Dakota planned walkouts, while students at the University of Minnesota vowed to shut down military recruiting offices on campus.
At the Glenwood Springs peace vigil, however, the names of fallen Colorado soldiers, along with a special fact about them, were read. The names of dead Iraqis were interspersed among the recited names of the soldiers. Candles in paper bags lined the park.
“We thought this would be a nice opportunity for people to acknowledge the sacrifices of our service people and the sacrifices of Iraqis,” said Sue Gray, 51, a Carbondale architectural drafter and one of the organizers of the Wednesday vigil.
The Iraq war has been unpopular both abroad and in the United States, although an Associated Press-Ipsos poll in December showed that growing numbers think the U.S. is making progress and will eventually be able to claim some success in Iraq.
The findings, a rarity in the relentlessly unpopular war, came amid diminishing U.S. and Iraqi casualties and the start of modest troop withdrawals. Still, majorities remain upset about the conflict and convinced the invasion was a mistake, and the issue still splits the country deeply along party lines.
“I have seen my friends go over and come back destroyed,” said Worth Carroll, 24, who works at an area animal shelter. “It is an unjust war and a shame.”
Many at the vigil shook their heads in disbelief and anger at how long the war has lasted.
“I can’t believe it has been so many years, and we haven’t been able to stop it, besides our best efforts,” Gray said. “More people are getting frustrated, and want a way to express their frustration and anguish over the war.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report
Contact Phillip Yates: 384-9117
Post Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
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Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon will continue to be closed due to “extreme damage” from the latest round of heavy rain and flooding Saturday night, the Colorado Department of Transportation announced Sunday afternoon.