“Enough is enough! My son served his contracted time. It is now time for him to enjoy his family,” said Pat Alviso, mother to a son who has been deployed to the Middle East for the fifth time. Alviso was one of 12 protesters in front of Chase Bank in Belmont Shore Friday Nov. 29. They are calling to bring U.S. troops home, now.
Alviso is a director in the Orange County division of Organization Military Families Speak Out (MFSO). This all-volunteer group was founded in 2002 by two military families who mission back then was to oppose the invasion of Iraq. Today it’s current mission is to get the troops out of Afghanistan, as is the mission of similar organizations who continue to push the anti-war movement.
Through weekly protesting, the MFSO goal is to inform, educate and encourage others to get involve and “Support our troops, BRING THEM HOME NOW! and take care of them after they get home.” Exactly as MFSO mission statement implies.
This reporter and several other Cypress College students participated in Friday night’s 2 1/2-hour demonstration. We all were able to get a first hand look on how determined these families are in their hope of getting their loved ones home soon. These participants made troop care packages, anti-war posters, and orange ribbons symbolizing the support t0 “Close-Gitmo”, the American prison for terrorist suspects in Guantanamo Bay.
There was also a spin- the-wheel game played by those walking by. The questions asked were military facts, standards and stats that most people may be aware of. If they did not, it was a fun and great way to educate those who did not know on how apparently unjust the system can be.
The part of the demonstration that appeared to move people emotionally was the shrine that was set up in honor of a soldier who had lost his life earlier in the week. Each week the shrine is for a different soldier. Participants in the weekly demonstrations said they find a new respect for the many soldiers and families affected by today’s war.
Elizabeth Otanez, a student participant said ” This was an amazing opportunity for me to gain experience through an actual political organizational group. I’m thinking about participating again next Friday”
A passing veteran said “I appreciate what it is you guys are doing. I was deployed twice and it was the hardest times for my family.”
The troops may be fighting the war, but with the continuous fight of these families and participants, the home coming of the troops may be closer than predicted.
For those interested in supporting M.F.S.O, their website is at mfsooc.org.