After learning that his friend had been killed in Ramadi, Iraq in 2004, CSU student Seth Anthony visited his grave at Arlington National Cemetery.
But the filled graves did not strike him as much as the vast, empty fields: The space reserved to bury American soldiers who have not yet died.
“Half of the soldiers who have died (in Iraq) are younger than I am,” said Anthony, a 24-year-old chemistry graduate student.
Anthony, also the chair of CSU’s Libertarian student group, was one of several who spoke out on Monday night, at an Iraq vigil held at the CSU Oval, saying it is time for the U.S. to bring its soldiers home.
Brendan Durkin, a freshman political science major who got out of the Army in June, did his first and third tours in Afghanistan and his second tour in Iraq in 2003-2004.
Durkin said he was disheartened by the lack of student presence at the vigil, even though CSU has more than 20,000 enrolled students.
“I just don’t think the Iraq War is real to our generation,” Durkin said after he spoke out at the vigil. “Why aren’t more students here to support our troops?”
More than 100 community members showed up Monday night. While numerous voices and opinions were heard the overwhelming message was it is time for U.S. soldiers in Iraq to return home.
Local politicians attended the event as well, as Colorado state Rep. John Kefalas, D-Fort Collins, and City Councilman Ben Manvel were both at the vigil.
Kefalas, with one of his sons in the Army in Iraq, said after four years of war and more than 3,200 U.S. lives lost, it is time for America’s sons and daughters to come home.
Durkin said he came to the vigil to state that the people fighting this war are young kids, who just 15 months ago were playing for their high school baseball team.
“Kids fighting this war are only 17 to 18 months removed from their prom,” Durkin said. “It’s our duty to stand up for these guys.”