Archive for June 29th, 2008

Dear Dan,

The following is an account of a series of conversations and events we thought you might find interesting.

Saturday, shortly before noon on June 21, the North Country Patriots were positioned on the north side of 25A in East Setauket, when they were approached by a woman. She had crossed the street to offer her thanks for the group’s support of our servicemen and women.

As we began to talk she noted that her son had enlisted shortly after high school and was now serving in Iraq.  When asked why he joined the woman said there was never anything specific the young man could cite.  It just seemed right for him.

Soon the conversation turned to the North Country Peace Group who were demonstrating directly across the road.  The mom, certainly more mystified than angry, asked what we thought of them.   Our feeling was some may be good people with terribly misguided intentions but that others were simply looking to relive a time in their lives, 40 years ago, when they felt “they had made a difference”.  Two things on which we all readily agreed was that their idea of “supporting the troops” was as wrongheaded as their idealistic, fantasyland worldview where sociopathic terrorists can be magically transformed by peace and love.

The woman took some photos of us to send to her son and headed back to her car in a parking lot behind the south side of the road.

In a few minutes we noticed she was engaged in conversation with a small group of about 4 demonstrators from the other side.  At one point a woman from the other group became highly agitated and began rather violently thrusting her finger at the soldier’s mom.  Mom retreated not at all, but a couple of us decided to head over as a precaution.

We found her remaining calm and focused as she articulated her thoughts.  The same could not be said for those with whom she was speaking.  A lady, only slightly less unhinged than the finger thruster, claimed that our government was killing people.  When it was immediately pointed out that her inartful statement branded the mom’s son a killer the woman tried to say it was just the government.  The obvious response, that the soldier signed up to work for the government, apparently hit the mark because she then went into a snit about her taxes paying for this.  When advised she could really strike a Ghandi like blow for her cause by refusing to pay her taxes she hurried off claiming she cries every time another one of our servicemen or women die.

Meanwhile our soldier’s mom continued her “face off” with a fellow displaying at least the proper temperament.  The discussion came around to serving and she asked him if he had any children.  He said he did and her reply was that her son “gave up his Mercedes” so that his child wouldn’t have to serve.

For a brief moment the silence was deafening, until unhinged lady came back.  Feeling her input not credible until she disavowed her earlier statement we pressed her on the issue until she finally blurted out, “They are killers!“, and stormed off one final time.  Perhaps feeling their precious collective intellect wounded the gentleman, previously mentioned, claimed they had stopped the Vietnam War.  He was immediately asked about the millions of Vietnamese and Cambodians who were slaughtered after our abrupt withdrawal from the region.  He did not respond until the question was repeated a third time.  Finally he looked the questioner dead in the eye and said, “I don’t care about them.

It took a loving, loyal, courageous mother, simply questioning the motives of those claiming to support her son, about 10 minutes to unmask them as pretenders and hypocrites.   Her soldier/son would be as proud of her as she is of him.