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Friday, March 16, 2007

Calling All Eagles Part #3

[UPDATE] 3/17/07-Today is the day of the anti-war protests and the Gathering of Eagles are stationed, as planned, protecting the Vietnam Memorial Wall.

I am updating the situation all day at this link and will be until the protest is over. So far a number (which varies depending on which paper we read, of "peace activists" have been arrested.

Keep track as the day progresses, right here. [End Update]

Following up to let everyone know the updates on the Gathering of Eagles project.

First for those that haven't heard of it yet, The US Veteran Dispatch is the driving force behind the Gathering of Eagles, our first post on it was called Calling All Eagles.

Leftist activists who march to the Pentagon next month will discover that their path won't be as clear as it has been in the past.

The group, led by Cindy Sheehan, Jane Fonda, Ramsey Clark and their ilk, plan to gather March 17 at the Vietnam Memorial Wall to begin a march to protest America's involvement in the Iraq war. The date marks the fourth anniversary of the war's beginning.

This time, however, protestors will see objectors if they spit on Iraqi veterans again, or throw paint on a war memorial. This time, they will encounter a buzz saw of Vietnam veterans and supporters who will gather to protect the Wall, and show their support for U.S. troops. The counter-protestors are calling themselves the Gathering of Eagles.

"… An eagle knows when a storm is approaching long before it breaks. The eagle will fly to some high spot and wait for the winds to come. When the storm hits, it sets its wings so that the wind will pick it up and lift it above the storm. While the storm rages below, the eagle is soaring above it."

An unknown author wrote that description, but it describes how the veterans see their mission. They are angry that the Wall is being used as a jumping off point for a political protest and they are gathering to protect it from another storm of anti-war activists.

"The anti-war/anti-America group cannot be allowed to use the Vietnam Memorial Wall as a back-drop to their anti-America venom and stain the hallowed ground that virtually cries out with blood at the thought of this proposed desecration ... it must not happen," said veteran Bud Gross. "… All Americans are invited to support our effort, which is intended as a defender of hallowed ground and intended as a non-violent competition between those that would sell out America and those of us who support freedom and keeping the fight with the enemy on distant shores."

The group defending the Wall will be wearing armbands to identify themselves. Those who are unable to stand with the defenders are being asked to wear armbands with small U.S. flags to show their own communities that they abhor the Fonda-Sheehan tactics.

"We'll be there to act as a countervailing force against the Cindy Sheehan-Jane Fonda march from the Vietnam Memorial to the Pentagon," retired Navy Capt. Larry Bailey said. "We will protect the Vietnam Memorial. If they try to deface it, there will be some violence, I guarantee you."

Bailey and thousands of his fellow Vietnam vets are worried that the anti-war protesters will damage the wall, just as they spray-painted the steps of the Capitol at their last march.

The wall is sacred to the men and women who fought in that war.

"It is our contact with our dead brothers -- those who lost their lives in the cause of their country," Bailey said.

And so it is that Washington will see a Gathering of Eagles - Americans determined to stand up against leftist propagandists who denigrate U.S. troops and the mission for which they sometimes sacrifice their lives.

Retired Col. Harry Riley organized the Gathering of Eagles. Organizers hope thousands will show up in Washington from as far away as Hawaii, and they won't only be Vietnam veterans. Families, friends and veterans of other wars, including Iraq, and soldiers still on active duty, will be there to defend the Wall.

"When we say a gathering of eagles, that signifies people who support the American way," Bailey said.

The leftist Web site describes the anti-war demonstrators this way: "The March on the Pentagon has already attracted more than 1,500 endorsers, including prominent individuals and national and grassroots organizations. Students on college campuses and in high schools will be attending in large numbers. There will be a large turnout from the Muslim and Arab American community, which is organizing throughout the country."

The movement is well-financed. Its sponsor list is lengthy and contains highly recognizable names, as well as those of Fonda and Sheehan:
· Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark (who offered his services to defend Saddam Hussein)
· Ultra-liberal Congresswoman Maxine Waters
· Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney
· Ron Kovic, Vietnam veteran and author of "Born on the 4th of July"
· Mahdi Bray, executive director, Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation
· Waleed Bader, vice chair of the National Council of Arab Americans and former president of Arab Muslim American Federation
· Medea Benjamin, co-founder, CODEPINK and Global Exchange
· Free Palestine Alliance
· Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation
· Islamic Political Party of America
· FMLN (Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front)
· Islamic-National Congress
· Gay Liberation Network
· Muslim Student Association
· Jibril Hough, chairman, Islamic Political Party of America

Retired Air Force Col. Smitty Harris, a former Vietnam POW, doesn't believe Fonda's protests carry the weight they once did. Harris says Fonda's actions at the march last month were "anti-American," just as they were in the 1970s, and won't have much effect on public opinion.

"It was big news during the Vietnam era when they had these marches ... because people didn't have all the alternative ways of finding out what is true and what's not," he recently told Agape Press. "So I don't think it's going to have a big effect." In fact, he says, it could even be counterproductive.

Today, Harris points out, Americans have talk radio and media outlets like the Fox News Channel to hear the voices of those who do not agree with Jane Fonda's point of view.

Then in an update found here, we told you that N.C Veterans would be joining the effort.

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.

Then Rolling Thunder joined in, which we told you about in our Calling All Eagles Update:

Rolling Thunder, the national organization dedicated to supporting veterans and their issues, will be standing guard against anti-war protesters led by Cindy Sheehan and Jane Fonda in Washington, D.C. on March 17.

Now, we have further updates from The US Veteran Dispatch "Teens join Gathering of Eagles this weekend."

The Gathering of Eagles in Washington, D.C. on Saturday isn't just for veterans. Teens, too, will be joining the group to make sure anti-war protesters don't make a mockery of the Vietnam War Memorial, the men who fought their country's wars, or the veterans guarding the Wall.

"We cannot allow protesters to damage the Wall," 17-year-old Justin Higgins said from his home in Ohio. "The protesters will march to the Pentagon. I might follow them and see what's going on afterward, but the main objective is to guard the memorial."

The Eagles are a group of veterans, veteran supporters, active military members and everyday Americans who will be in Washington to make sure anti-war protesters don't damage the war memorials, particularly the Wall. The group has a history of inflicting damage to U.S. icons, as well as cursing, spitting and taunting America's military.

Higgins became aware of the gathering when he received e-mails about the event.

"I knew I had to attend," he said. "Some people doubt America's bravery is intact. I'll be standing up for the soldiers and the vets. I hope people will see this isn't just dominated by war protesters, but also by people who want to stand up for something. What's right is right."

This won’t be Lane Owen Sampley’s first demonstration. The son of Vietnam veteran and MIA/POW advocate Ted Sampley, young Sampley attended his first protest when he was 5. He has a special attachment to the Wall. His grandfather’s name is on it

Army Green Berets SSGT Robert D. Owen and SFC Glen O. Lane, went missing in Laos on May 23, 1968. The teen's mother named him in honor of his grandfather Owen, his grandfather’s buddy Lane, and his dad Theodore Lane Sampley, also a former Green Beret. That’s some heavy military history!

The 14-year-old has visited every memorial in Washington, but says the World War II memorial is his favorite design.

"It represents every state," Sampley, from North Carolina, said. "It's the kind of place you can go to enjoy your time."

He's looking forward to the Washington trip. It isn't every day young people get the chance to participate in something as important as the Gathering of Eagles, he said.

Both young men are familiar with the Jane Fonda-Cindy Sheehan mentality that guides the war protesters. Both feel strongly that America's troops should be defended against their type of leftist rhetoric.

"My dad has told me stuff, but I'm old enough to form my own opinion," Sampley said. "I think it's wrong to be protesting against our people in Iraq. We should be supporting them. If their country isn't behind them, who is? We might not have wanted to get in (the war), but we're there now and we might as well get the job done. If [terrorists] hadn't gone after the Twin Towers, they would have done something else. We would never have been safe if we hadn't gone in. Imagine sitting in Iraq and having hundreds of thousands of people protesting. It destroys morale."

This will be Higgins' first national protest. He joined about 100 others at home when he believed a fellow student was suspended unjustly for allegedly being disrespectful when speaking at a school board meeting.

"It was a free speech issue," Higgins said. The suspension was reversed.

LTJG Terry Rivera, commanding officer of the Palmetto Sea Cadets, will accompany some of the teens who want to visit the Wall during the gathering. The cadets, ages 14-18, will be in Washington for other business, but plan to be with the Eagles as civilians during free time.

"We are part of a special committee that planned/organized the Dignity Vietnam Wall that traveled to (Columbia, S.C.) in October. We got to know many Vietnam vets, and feel very strongly about supporting and paying tribute to them and their fallen comrades," Rivera said in an e-mail message.

More than 10,000 people visited the Wall while it was in Columbia, and the cadets provided traffic control.

"This detail was made up of kids between the ages of 11-16," Rivera said. "They did a phenomenal job, standing duty for 12 hours (one day in the pouring rain!) These kids are training to stand up for our country and to become the leaders of tomorrow. … I'm very proud of them."

Lane Sampley's father will be there supporting the troops and guarding the Wall, but Higgins' parents will not. Higgins' parents are against the Iraqi war.

"But they've become pretty supportive of me," he said. "They believe nothing should happen to the war memorial."

Higgins is organizing other friends to attend. He expects some to arrive from Maryland.

Getting out news about the gathering has been easy for Higgins, a blogger. He has promoted the event on his site,, and raised money to finance his trip.

"My parents are taking me, but I want to pay for this through online work, my blog," he said recently. "Donations are coming in. I'm trying to pass $200 mark to get some T-shirts made. They'll say, 'Freedom doesn't die … only the will to fight for it does.' "

The young men realize protesters could instigate a confrontation with the Eagles. Higgins said he initially was concerned about the possibility, and will have a video camera to document whatever occurs.

"Since we'll have people standing by the Wall, I can't see anybody having the cajones to confront them," Higgins said. "When we stand up and unite, the days of spitting on veterans are over."

Sampley is confident any confrontation that might develop will come from the anti-war protesters, the same group that spray-painted the Capitol steps. Eagles will protect themselves, he said, but will not provoke.

"Our people won't turn violent," he said. "I've been to enough protests to know our people are pretty much in control. If I see my dad's getting beat up, I'll jump in. If it's something going on in the distance, I'll get out of the way."

GO TEENS!!!!!!!!!

Since vandalism is a crime, I am safe in calling those that spray painted the capitol steps, criminals, and the Gathering of Eagles was put together to see to it that these criminals are not allowed to vandalize the Vietnam War Memorial also.

Good for them.

I would also like to acknowledge the troops caravan, a great group:

A small caravan of military families in cars, trucks and motor homes gathered in Griffith Park at noon today to support the troops and to criticize politicians calling for withdrawal from Iraq.

About 100 supporters showed up to cheer on the dozen or so vehicles as they stopped for a brief rally in Los Angeles, the third stop on a nine-day tour across the United States.

Organized by the nonprofit Move America Forward, the group left San Francisco on Thursday, stopping earlier today in Bakersfield. They will move on to Palm Desert for a rally this evening, and plan to end their trip in Washington, D.C.

Debra Argel Bastian, of Lompoc, is traveling with the caravan. Her son, Capt. Derek Argel, was killed in Iraq, yet she still supports his decision to serve. She also said the United States needs to stay in Iraq to finish the job.

'These colors don't run,' she said, referring to the theme of the caravan, which is collecting flags along each stop and plans to display them in Washington later this month.

The group collected several dozen flags of all sizes today from supporters, which they will use to create what they call a 'Flag City.'

Mark Crowley, of Tracy, is also traveling with the caravan. His son, Lance Cpl. Kyle D. Crowley, was killed in Iraq in April 2004 at age 18.

'It's not easy to outlive [your] children. Many have died for these colors,' he said. And anyone who doesn't support the colors, he said, should get out of the country.

More about "These Colors Don't Run".

This story almost broke my heart, so touching and so poignant.

'I'm Proud of My Son; I Need Him to be Proud of Me,' Soldier's Father Says.

( - When Lance Cpl. Kyle Croly was killed in Iraq in 2004, his father felt that the 18-year-old had passed the torch of supporting the country on to him.

Mark Croly, struggling with the loss, has been reflecting anew on his son's sacrifice since he and other supporters of American troops set off on a cross-country caravan headed for the nation's capital late last week.

"It really feels good to be a part of this," the retired steel worker told Cybercast News Service. "I know that Kyle can see me and as proud as I am of him, I need him to be proud of me."

The "These Colors Don't Run" caravan, sponsored by the pro-troops organization Move America Forward (MAF), is traveling from California to Washington, D.C., where it aims to counter an anti-war protest planned for March 17.

The convoy is stopping for pro-troop rallies along the way, and at each rally, participants are collecting flags from supporters to be sent to Iraq to show the troops that their country still supports them. In the first three days, 5,000 flags had been collected, MAF said.

Speaking en route to Los Angeles Friday, Croly said America cannot back down from the effort in Iraq.

"This will never stop until we bring the fight to them," he said.

The pro-troop movement has gained momentum with the recent push in Congress to pull the armed forces out of Iraq by August of next year. The convoy participants dismissed the plan as a "cut and run" policy and said they continue to push for victory.

"If we pull out, we have failed, and all those who have died for it will have died in vain," Croly said. "I believe it is a grave mistake ... to pull out and not finish this job.

"These people don't seem to understand," he continued, in reference to anti-war campaigners. "This administration that we support may not be the best administration, but it's who's in office. Whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, you need to support your country.

"The cost of freedom is more than people know," Croly added.

"[House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi thought she had a mandate to cut and run in Iraq, but I think we are seeing that the American people want victory in Iraq, not surrender," another member of the convoy, Deborah Jones, said in a press release issued by MAF. Jones' son is a Marine serving his third tour in Iraq.

The caravan was formed to counter protests organized by the Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) movement, which predicts that tens of thousands of anti-war activists will attend its upcoming rally.

In a statement on its website, ANSWER described its pro-troop counterparts as "some tiny pro-Bush groups who support the war in Iraq, and who normally mobilize about 25 people to hold signs when massive anti-war protests take place."

The caravan is due to arrive in Washington in time to join the "Gathering of the Eagles," a demonstration aimed at protecting war memorials and monuments in the capital against potential vandalism by anti-war protestors.

The 3,500-mile journey from the West Coast will take them through California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia.

This is not Vietnam, Hanoi Jane, and you will not walk all over our Veterans again.... They, their families, their friends, their supporters and now the teens, will see to it.

We know what you are this time and we are ready for you.