As the American military death toll nears the 1,000 mark in Afghanistan, anti-war grandmothers and their supporters are preparing in advance to mark the grim occasion. The grannies held special commemorations for the 3,000th and 4,000th American death in Iraq, and now are planning to perform the same heartbreaking task for those unfortunate soldiers sacrificed to the war in Afghanistan.
"Perhaps most of the public is not much concerned with these wars and their casualties, but the peace grannies always have been, are now and will continue to be until they are stopped," said 94-year-old Lillian Pollak, an active member of the Granny Peace Brigade, one of the organizers of the event. "We will publicly acknowledge the carnage in the hope that we will awaken citizens to the fact that the wars are still being waged with their resultant unjustified death and destruction -- not only of our own young people but of countless innocent civilians. We must not let up in our efforts to end these immoral occupations."
Please be advised that a special memorial will be held the day AFTER the 1,000th fatality is announced. People are asked to meet at 5:30 p.m. at the site of the regular Wednesday Rockefeller Center Grandmothers Against the War vigil -- the west side of Fifth Ave. between 49th and 50th Sts. They will vigil there for approximately one hour and then slowly walk to the recruitment center in Times Square for a short appearance. The grannies will be joined by Veterans for Peace, who regularly stand with them on Wednesdays, and other loyal followers.
It is requested that people bring candles and flashlights. Names of the dead will be read. Celebrated persons in in the arts and government have been invited to eulogize the lost lives.
The count is as of this date (Feb. 1) 977, so it is likely that the 1,000th death will occur within the next month or two. Those who plan to attend are asked to be vigilant in observing the count so that they can participate at the right moment.
Regretfully, the casualties continue to mount in Iraq, as well, though not to the extent they have in the past. American deaths there now total 4,375. Hopefully, the U.S. will have pulled out before the total reaches the dreaded 5,000. Rest assured, the indomitable grannies will continue their non-stop efforts to make this a reality.