Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Iraq War 5th Anniversary Observance to be Held on the Village Green

Summit, NJ -On Saturday March 15th the Summit Interfaith Peace Coalition and Pax Christi Summit along with area residents and peace organizations will gather on the Village Green in Summit for an all day observance of the 5th anniversary of the Iraq War. The theme is Chaos or Community? Taken from a speech given by Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1967 about the Vietnam war entitled “Where do we go from here: Chaos or Community?”, the event will focus on the cost to local communities in terms of shrinking resources for social services such as education and healthcare along with the sacrifices of the military and their families.

Ten American Friends Service Committee banners will be on display on the Village Green starting at 11:00 am. The banners which are a part of the Wage Peace Campaign-Cost of War Project equate the cost of one day of the War in Iraq to funding for human needs such as housing, renewable energy projects and schools.

In addition to distributing literature and collecting signatures outside the post office, the groups will also be collecting money for the Deployed Military Spouses Fund which is administered by the Women’s Opportunity Center of Burlington County. “Many people do not recognize the extreme financial and emotional stress the multiple deployments and combat exposure has on military families,” stated Kathy O’Leary, Chapter Coordinator for Pax Christi Summit.

According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation one in three military families has reported trouble paying bills in the last year and one in 5 receive food stamps or WIC program aid. “As more and more soldiers return from Iraq, we will start to see the effects of PTSD and other mental health and emotional issues that result from combat exposure in our communities” O’Leary asserted. “It is important that we respond compassionately to the needs of returning soldiers and their families and that we understand the depth and breadth of their sacrifice” said O’Leary.

The day will conclude with a vigil and prayer service beginning at 6:30 pm in front of the war memorial on the Village Green at which time non-perishable food items will be collected. For more information contact Kathy O’Leary at 908-273-0751.