CHICAGO – Nearly 50 U.S. military veterans at an anti-NATO rally inChicago threw their service medals into the street on Sunday, anaction they said symbolized their rejection of the U.S.-led wars inIraq and Afghanistan. Some of the veterans, many wearing military uniform shirts overblack anti-war t-shirts, choked back tears as they explained theiractions. Others folded an American flag while a bugle played”Taps,” which is typically performed at U.S.
military funerals. “The medals are supposed to be for acts of heroism. I don’t feellike a hero. I don’t feel like I deserve them,” said Zach LaPorte,who served in Iraq in 2005 and 2006. LaPorte, a 28-year-old mechanical engineer from Milwaukee, said heenlisted in the Army at 19 because he felt there were few otheroptions.
At the time, he could not afford to stay in college. “I witnessed civilian casualties and civilians being arrested inwhat I consider an illegal occupation of a sovereign nation,”LaPorte said. He said he was glad the United States had withdrawn its combattroops from Iraq, but said he did not believe the NATO militaryalliance was going to leave Afghanistan. On Sunday, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen opened thetwo-day summit of the 26-member alliance saying there would be nohasty exit from Afghanistan. Volvo Turbo Kits
A veteran from New York who only gave his name as Jerry said: “Idon’t want any part of this anymore. I chose human life over war,militarism and imperialism.” The veterans had hoped to present their medals to a NATOrepresentative. The closest they could get was the fence ringingthe McCormick Place convention center about a block from where U.S.President Barack Obama and other leaders were meeting. The veterans threw their medals toward the convention center. Matt Howard, 29, who served in the Marines from 2001 to 2006, saidthe rate of suicides among veterans returning from the wars ishigh. Deutz Turbocharger
“These medals are not worth the cloth and steel they’re printed on.They’re representative of failed policies,” said Howard, aspokesman for Iraq Veterans Against the War. Former U.S Army Sergeant Alejandro Villatoro, 29, of Chicago,served during the Iraq 2003 invasion and in Afghanistan in 2011. He said he suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome anddepression and gave back three medals – one “War onTerrorism”medal, one for participating in the Iraq war and a NATOmedal from the Afghanistan war. He said he wants the war inAfghanistan to end. Scania Turbocharger Manufacturer
“There’s no honor in these wars,” said Villatoro, before he threwaway his medals. “There’s just shame.”.