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Winter Soldier


April Fitzsimmons

“Don’t move until it passes,” my Dad told us after our first whiteout in Montana.

“The snow is blinding, it’s like a wall so just pull over and wait it out.”

Our first blackout happened in the middle of a Scrabble game. Suddenly all the lights went out and the neighborhood powered down and we all searched for candles and stood on the porch calling out,

“Do you have power? Us either.”

And then we looked up and discovered that we were illuminated only by the stars from a distant sky and everyone said,

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“They’re so beautiful. They’re so bright.”

With the flip of a switch, the light returned and we went back inside to finish our double word scores and in-fighting.

In 1971, 109 Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) staged “Winter Soldier” to raise awareness about the human rights violations in Vietnam.

Last month at the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Maryland, the second “Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan” took place with 200 men and women from Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), family members, interrogators, and translators from Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). 300 visitors, including some of the original Winter Soldiers, listened as the Veterans of OIF showed slides and video and gave first hand accounts of their experiences.

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-- by April Fitzsimmons