N.C. veterans will join national group to protect Wall, support troops.
KINSTON, N.C. -- Veterans from across the U.S. who gather at the Vietnam Wall in Washington on March 17 to guard the monument can expect support from their buddies in Lenoir County, N.C.
Thousands of veterans are expected to surround the Wall when as many as 100,000 anti-war protesters, led by Jane Fonda and Cindy Sheehan, march from that site to the Pentagon on St. Patrick's Day. A smaller number of veterans will add moral support by staging a 24-hour vigil at Kinston's (N.C.) version of the Wall in Neuseway Park.
"Those who cannot go to Washington can show their support for the vets at our memorial here," said Vietnam veteran Eric Cantu. "We will show our support for the troops in Iraq."
Counter-protesters in Washington expect the anti-war demonstrators to attempt to deface the Wall. Veterans of several wars, their friends and other Americans will protect the iconic monument and show their support for troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, said U.S. Army Col. Harry Riley, an organizer of the national counter-protest Gathering of Eagles.
Kinston will become one of several sites across the U.S. where veterans who cannot travel to Washington will demonstrate their support for the Wall and the troops.
"Any veteran or individual who wants to show support can come out to our memorial here just as if we were in D.C.," Cantu said. "Our soldiers in Iraq deserve honor and support. We don't want to see these veterans get treated the way we were when we came back from Vietnam."
Fonda and Sheehan led a similar anti-war protest in January. The marchers spray-painted the steps of the Capitol, raising the ire of many Americans, but were not stopped by Capitol police.
Riley believes Fonda-Sheehan group plans to target the Wall during the March demonstration. National Park police have said they will arrest any person who makes such an attempt. Rolling Thunder, the national organization of motorcycle-riding veterans who gather in Washington every year on Memorial Day, has agreed to form a barrier between the protesters and the monument.
For an exchange of information, visit and join the Gathering of Eagles message board.
Keep up to date on how this movement is progressing at http://www.usvetdsp.com .
I will continue to update this and am adding a link on the sidebar for those that wish to keep up with this news.