Sunday, August 5, 2007

The Iowa Front: Military & Veterans’ Weekly Roundup

Last night I attended the ceremony at West Branch’s annual Hooverfest honoring Iowa’s 57 soldiers killed in the Iraq War. The event was also intended to pay tribute to the soldiers’ families who have been left behind. Iowa’s commander-in-chief, Gov. Chet Culver, spoke at the ceremony, and the event culminated with a firework show accompanied by contemporary patriotic music. Be sure to read tomorrow’s Iowa Independent for a more detailed write up.

Political/Veterans’ Front

“Legislation Clears Senate to Name Marshalltown Post Office after Fallen Soldier”: One of the fallen soldier honored at the ceremony was Major Scott Nisely, whose public service was recognized by companion bills passed by both chambers of Congress. Legislation to name the Marshalltown Post Office after Nisley cleared the Senate last week. The bill, first introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Bruce Braley, D.-1st Dist., had already passed in the House. The bill now goes to the president to be signed into law.

“This is a fitting tribute to Major Nisely and the welcoming home of his National Guard unit. He was the epitome of a great American and served his country valiantly for nearly 30 years in the military, but his public service didn’t stop there. He also worked for 12 years with the United States Postal Service,” Grassley said in a press release. “I know he is missed by his family, friends, co-workers and fellow Guard members. I hope this will serve as positive reminder of a man who gave so much to his country.”

Nisely’s military service included nearly 25 years with the United States Marine Corps and Marines Corps Reserve during which he achieved the rank of Major. Most recently, he took a significant decrease in rank to serve in the Iowa Army National Guard for close to four years. His public service also includes 12 years with the United States Postal Service.

“Lifelong Republican and Marine Veteran Breaks Ground with "Support the Troops, End the War" Yard Sign”: Americans Against Escalation in Iraq “Iraq Summer” Campaign officially kicked off its "Support the Troops, End the War" yard sign drive in Iowa Monday as part of an ongoing effort to convince Senator Chuck Grassley and U.S. Representative Tom Latham to change course and vote for the safe and responsible redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq. The first yard sign of the 6,000 sign statewide campaign drive was planted in the yard of Dr. Larry Koenig, a lifelong Republican who served in the United States Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. Both his daughter and son joined the United States Army, and his son is still on active duty.

“The current culture of divisiveness is making it hard to end the war,” said Dr. Larry Koenig. “It’s not about being a Republican or a Democrat – it’s about doing the right thing. These signs bring awareness that our troops are in a situation that is not in their best interest or our country’s.”

“It’s wonderful to have someone like Dr. Koenig whose family has given so much for this country standing with us in this effort to bring a safe and responsible end to the war in Iraq,” said Sue Dinsdale, mother of an Iraq war veteran and the Field Director for Iowa’s ‘Iraq Summer’ Campaign.

“We hope Senator Grassley and Congressman Latham get the message that Iowans all of walks of life, of both political parties, are united in calling for an end to this war. These signs are a great way to show neighbors our love and support for our US military - and a great way to show our representatives in Washington that the best way they can show their support for our troops is to vote to bring them home safe.”

Iraq Summer” is a nationwide, 10-week long campaign with nearly 100 organizers in 15 states and 40 congressional districts to turn up the heat on Republican members of Congress who have opposed setting a timeline to bring a safe and responsible end to the war in Iraq. The effort will culminate with a national “Take a Stand” day on August 28th, when members will have the opportunity to explain their stance on the war to their constituents in a town hall setting.

In Cedar Rapids, Gulf War veteran Joe Stutler, was the first person in eastern Iowa to place a “Support the Troops, End the War” yard sign as part of the campaign. Be sure to read Lynda Waddington’s account of the event in the Iowa Independent.

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