Today's anniversary effected many people right here in the Stateline in different ways. Some responded to the anniversary with protest rallies while others reflected on their service in the military. Wether you are for the war in Iraq or against it, it is hard to deny that this conflict has been one of the most decisive issues in american politics for the last five years. Dozens of protesters gathered today in Rockford to declare an end to what they see as a waste of life and money. Rev. Kenneth Storck says "Well it's been five years and we have a premptive war that should have never been and there are other policies we could enact in this world that would be much more helpful than the current policies."
Although some of the protesters have lost friends or family in the war, the majority were simply concerned citizens, upset with their governments policy in the Middle East. With this being the fifth anniversary of the war I wanted to talk with someone who has had more hands-on experience. Chaplain Kent Svendsen has consuled many soldiers returning home from Iraq. "You go from being in a war zone where you're getting shot at and danger all the time, high stress, then all of the sudden you're back home again and it's a real transition."
When the soldiers return home, many timed they find their jobs gone. Chaplain svendsen went on to say that even patriotic employers sometimes reach their limits when their employees get called up for their second and third tours of duty. You may not agree with the reasons behind this war, but you better believe that the soldiers fighting in Iraq and elsewhere enlisted because they believe in the idea of democracy. If you don't like the government you can get invloved and fight to change it.
Rhea Hoyt reminds us "I hope in the next election people remember who were for and against the war."
Chaplain Svendsen told me that the most rewarding aspect of his job is when he can help soldiers set asside an issue and walk away from it. The protesters in rockford weren't the only people out today. In Chicago large groups of protesters forced the closure of several streets.