Local residents gathered around Lake Ella Monday for a luminary memorial in support of bringing the troops home from the war in Iraq. From babies to senior citizens with pets, more than 100 people walked around the lake with anti-war signs from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and took part in the night’s ceremony.
Monday was the four-year anniversary of the Iraq war. To date 3, 475 U.S. troops have died in the war. A lit candle inside a bag with the name and age of each fallen soldier lined the lake.
Su Ecenia, a housewife from Tallahassee, formed the group “Tallahasseeans Who Believe It’s Time To Come Home.” The group contacted each other with “ideas building on ideas,” to come up with the memorial, she said.
“This is an event where people can honor the immense sacrifice of those who have died, and at the same time say, ‘No more. It needs to stop now. It’s time to come home,’ ” Ecenia said.
The organization was conceived after Ecenia invited a group of women friends to watch the 2005 American military documentary “Why we Fight,” by Eugene Jarecki.
After the movie night, Ecenia tried to figure out how to help fight the war in Iraq.
First, she helped create bumper stickers with the slogan “It’s Time To Come Home,” then she created an art show in December 2006 to educate Tallahasseeans with anti-war art.
Dr. Ray Bellamy, a physician and former FAMU physical therapy professor, came out to support the anti-war movement.
“The war has been a disaster,” Bellamy said. ” Not only has it made it less safe in the world, the U.S. is less trusted and more hated all over the world.”
Bellamy and others in attendance said they were present to send a message on the severity of the war in Iraq and how it effects citizens in the U.S. They were hoping politicians noticed the night memorial.
Marley Moynahan, 17, Rickards High School senior, came with her mother. While her mother stationed herself at a table with pamphlets and bumperstickers, Marley took pictures and absorbed what was around her.
“It’s comforting to me to see the community express this sentiment,” she said. “I feel Iraq was a mistake. As an American, it makes me hopeful to repudiate the initial mistake.”
As an incoming foreign service student at Georgetown University, Moynahan said it was important to her to be informed of the topic and attend the memorial.
Anti-war activists and spectators carried lit candles and sang “Peace on Earth” with an acoustic guitar. Many particpants also wore the “It’s Time To Come Home” bumper stickers on their shirts.
Jim Moore, a political writer and World War II veteran from Tallahassee, walked around proudly displaying his metals from his service career.
Moore said it will take thousands more to die before the government will realize what is going on and how it is effecting those in the US.
“I am here to represent me and the numbers of veterans who are not here to express and represent themselves,” he said.
Moore has written more than 400 patriotic and anti-war articles.
He is an advocate of sending the troops back home from Iraq.
Ecenia also endorsed the idea of ending U.S. military activity in Iraq and the safe return of troops.
Ecenia shared her thoughts, mission statement of the group Tallahasseeans Who Believe It’s Time to Come Home and more information about the memorial on the group’s Web site, (www.timetocomehome.com).