Nine years ago, the bumper sticker messages on June 11, 2005 said: "Support The Troops." This was on a yellow ribbon decal, and many cars had them.
Four people stood on the corner of the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge that day. Mary and Howard Maynard and Estelle and Manny Margolis. One of us is still there each week. We made signs that said "Support The Troops, Bring Them Home!"
We felt very strongly about the fact that we were in two wars that never should have been started. Both Iraq and Afghanistan were a disaster.
The death toll for our troops went up every day. We had 534 troops killed by 2003. President Bush started these endless wars, and then just handed them over to President Obama in 2009.
The number now (as of June 8) is 6,811 American troops dead. The wounded and victims of post traumatic stress disorder has climbed to more than 100,000. The Veterans Administration is overwhelmed. Hospitals in their system have been proven to make vets wait so long that they died before being treated.
It is now more than 12 years since this insanity started, and there is no end yet in site. Even with the promises that we will be out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014. We are supposed to be out of Iraq but there are still thousands of our troops in Iraq doing so-called "peacekeeping," and there will be the same in Afghanistan.
There is no peace possible in either country. The Sunnis and Shias are killing each other every day! The corrupt and very rich dictators of these fake democracies are totally impotent to stop them. Our troops can't stop them nor can the police and their own troops stop them. Suicide bombing has proven to be the most popular effective weapon of our time.
And then there is the saddest by product of our long stay in these two countries. Our Vets are coming home so destroyed that about 20 of them commit suicide every day!
This year, nine years after our vigil began, I am still protresting on the bridge. I have been there almost every Saturday on this peace vigil. My current message is about the suicides of our own troops. Post-traumatic stress can be lethal. We need to get out of Afghanistan now! Every single day takes a terrible toll.
Estelle T. Margolis