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Chicago Vietnam Veterans Against the War and supporters honor fallen servicemen on Memorial Day

By Chicago VVAW

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Chicago Vietnam Veterans Against the War and supporters honor fallen servicemen on Memorial Day

For Immediate Release
May 26, 2004
For More Information:
call Barry Romo 73-276-4189
Tracy Slyke 312-315-1127

Bring the Troops Home
Chicago Vietnam Veterans Against the War and supporters honor fallen servicemen on Memorial Day

Calling for an "end to the Iraqi War," members and supporters of the group Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) will join together for its annual commemoration of military veterans at the corner of Wacker and Wabash from 11 a.m.-noon, on Memorial Day, May 31. The event is endorsed by Military Families Speak Out.

Currently, over 700 American troops have been killed while stationed in Iraq with the number of Iraqi civilians deaths reach into the thousands.

"The Bush Administration started this war under false pretenses and has put the lives of our family members, our friends and our loved ones at risk with their continued lies and mismanagement. No one can understand the courage, the hard work and the danger that our fellow service men and women face everyday better than us. It is time to honor these troops and their lives by bringing them home," says VVAW National Staff Member Barry Romo. "I don't want to have a thousand more dead American soldiers by next Memorial Day."

Speakers at the event will include Vietnam War veterans, an Iraqi war veteran and family members of military personnel currently stationed in Iraq.

Rosemary Dietz-Slavenas's son, a member of Military Families Speak Out, lost her son Lt. Brian Slavenas, a helicopter pilot on November 2, 2003 with 15 other U.S. troops when his Chinook helicopter was shot down over Falluja.

"There is a Bible passage, 'I will build my kingdom and the gates of hell will not prevail.' Initiating a war, we have opened the gates of hell and sent our children through them," says Dietz-Slavenas. Slavenas will be speaking at the VVAW Memorial Day event.

The event will also announce the new VVAW-sponsored counseling program for American military personnel to help with issues while on duty and afterwards.

Vietnam Veterans Against the War has more than 1,000 members throughout the country and includes veterans from World War II and on. It currently organizes for better benefits for all vets and has become one of the most outspoken and respected peace organizations in the country. The first group to organize Vietnam veterans in 1967, it was founded to voice returning service-men's and women's growing opposition to the Vietnam war and grew to include more than 30,000 members. The group started the first rap groups to deal with the war's traumatic aftereffects on GIs, helped make known negative health effects of exposure to chemical defoliants and exposed Veteran's Administration attempts to cover up Agent-Orange-induced illnesses.

VISUALS: Veterans speaking, Military family members speaking. VVAW members and supporters will surround the former Vietnam Veterans Memorial for a moment of silence and throw flowers into the fountain at the end of the program.

Commentary on VVAW.org: