By Cindy Thomas
In 2005 my husband was severely wounded in Iraq and the Army labeled him “undeployable.” But, in 2007, they deployed him again. That is when I began to realize that I could no longer support the war and and started looking for the comfort and support of others who felt as I did. One day I was looking at Rosie O’Donnell’s website and I saw a picture of a woman confronting Condeleeza Rice with bloody hands. My first thought was “that is so ballsy!” I wanted to know who this was so I read Rosie’s blog and learned that she was with CODEPINK I googled and found the national website and immediately joined. Then, I began to look for a local chapter. Of course, there wasn’t one in Killeen, Texas, but, I did find the website for CODEPINK Austin. I showed up at their next meeting with my two daughters all in pink and found not only the comfort I had been seeking, but, also the opportunity to take action.
Through CODEPINK Austin, I heard about Iraq Veterans Against the War and became connected to members in the Austin and Fort Hood areas. In the spring of 2008 the Fort Hood chapter of IVAW was contacted by a longtime activist who had been at the Oleo Strut during the Vietnam days, and who wanted to offer his fundraising abilities to help start a similar coffeehouse for Iraq veterans. Fort Hood IVAW members recognized the value and importance of having such a hangout for GIs, but, they did not feel that they could organize or operate it. So, they came to me for help. I contacted Alice Embree and Fran Hanlon, two CODEPINK women who are now board members, and in May of 2008 we sat down with IVAW members to discuss the creation of what is now Under the Hood Cafe and Outreach Center.
For the soldiers who visit regularly, Under the Hood has become a home and we have become family. They return to base and tell their buddies about us. They come and hang out because they can relax and talk openly with us. They tell us about their hardships, they ask for help, they seek information about their rights, and sometimes they find the strength to say NO to war.
Thank you, CODEPINK for your support. This is what keeps me going. Living in the military culture in Killeen is not easy. Hearing the stories and witnessing the pain these wars have caused these young people is very difficult. When I need to be re-inspired or re-motivated, I go to Austin and join my CODEPINK friends in action. It gives me the strength to come back to Fort Hood and continue the struggle.
Here is a personal story from SPC Victor Agosto, Afghanistan War Resister:
Coffee Strong in Olympia, WA (givoice.org, coffeestrong.com).
Killeen Daily Herald Sunday, Aug. 30 2009
Anti-war cafe opens in the shadow of Fort Hood
By Jeremy Schwartz
Off-post, soldiers can let down their guard and open up about the war at Under the Hood cafe.
August 15, 2009
Vet’s suicide shocks ex-platoon sergeant
By Rick Yencer / Muncie Star Press
Posted: October 17, 2009
VA Hid Suicide Risk, Internal E-Mails Show
CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian reports.
April 21, 2008
Art as Resistance
by Dahr Jamail
September 7th, 2009
“Soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have tough truths to tell, and it has been well demonstrated that the establishment media does not want to broadcast these. Given the lack of an outlet for anti-war voices in the corporate media, many contemporary veterans and active-duty soldiers have embraced the arts as a tool for resistance, communication and healing.”
August 9th, 2009 | TomDispatch
By Sarah Lazare, Courage to Resist for Truthout. August 3, 2009
40 page summary of Military Recruiter Sexual Assault, Abuse and Rape of potential recruits
by Geoff Millard | Sat, 10/24/2009
OUR TROOPS AND IRAQIS ARE STILL DYING
An Open Letter to the Peace/Anti-War Movement from Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, and Veterans For Peace
March 19, 2009
As wars lengthen, toll on military families mounts
by David Crary, Associated Press
July 19th, 2008
Anger over cuts reaches fever pitch: Parents, staff turn out in force to defend programs
By JAMES HAUG
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
Nov. 20, 2008
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