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By LISA HOFFMAN
Some veterans are up in arms over plans by anti-Iraq-war demonstrators to assemble next month at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Billed as a protest marking the fourth anniversary of the Iraq war’s start and the 40th anniversary of a pivotal march on the Pentagon against the Vietnam War, the March 17 event will commence near the haunting memorial and end at the Pentagon. Organizers expect an enormous turnout.
The Military Order of the Purple Heart, Rolling Thunder and other veterans groups are promising to form a protective ring around the Wall, which they consider “hallowed” ground. Purple Heart national commander Tom Poulter said his members are outraged that the protesters would “even consider gathering near the Wall.” One fear is that someone may try to spray-paint the memorial as protesters did to the U.S. Capitol last month.
Protest organizer Richard Becker of the leftist ANSWER Coalition dismissed those fears as the rantings of “right-wing” extremists and said no one would attempt to deface or defile the memorial. And, although his group’s press release said marchers will assemble at the memorial, Becker said the staging area will actually be in a nearby stretch of the National Mall.
The USAF says it wouldn’t even consider cutting personnel if Congress would allow the service to retire a host of warplanes it no longer needs. Although the service says the mothballing of U-2 spy planes, B-52 bombers and C-5 airlifters, among others, could save taxpayers $1.7 billion per year, lawmakers simply won’t hear of doing away with “their” planes — not to mention the jobs and bucks the aircraft bring into their districts.
For dessert: warm blueberry-vanilla cake with lemon sauce, which was a variation of what some historians say was the type baked by Lincoln’s wife to celebrate election-day victories. Unlike the nouveau one, the original included currants and a couple of healthy shots of brandy.
Of 100 U.S. troops overseas who were surveyed, more than 40 did not cast ballots, the study said.
(SHNS staff writer Lee Bowman contributed to this column.)