In February this year I first noticed references to a “Gathering of Eagles” on the Michelle Malkin site. Apparently in response to protests against the troops and the desecration of memorials some former servicemen had been trying to do something about it without a great deal of success.
One of the earliest posts I can find on the subject is in Veteran-American Voices, under the heading, “A Gathering of Eagles Against a Gathering of Vultures” by “Rurik” and begins: -
At the start of February, we were alerted by a few vets that the hard left, anti-American protesters organized around Cindy Sheehan, Jane Fonda, and their ilk planned to demonstrate in Washington on March 17, 2007, starting at the Vietnam War Memorial and marching on the Pentagon. Word spread via e-mail, and then by website.
Last time those barbarians marched not only did they protest, but they also vandalized the Capitol while the federal Park Police did virtually nothing. This time, they would do it to Our Wall. They will dishonor the memory of Our Fallen Brothers before beginning their trek to betray and dishonor Our Serving Sons.
Forbid it Almighty God!! Even if no vandalism were to occur, to expropriate The Wall as a backdrop for such a protest would be a desecration. An obscenity. It would be like allowing the KKK to hold a national rally at the Lincoln Memorial – that would never be allowed to happen. And the aging hippies and traitors of the 1960s must not be allowed near The Wall memorializing those they betrayed.
As an Australian I have always held a deep sense of shame and revulsion at the way our Vietnam veterans were treated, for them there were no parades to welcome them home as their predecessors from both world wars and Korea, no great public speeches, no accolades, and little recognition.
These men served with honor and distinction, yet were vilified, they won their battles, yet were defeated, not by the North Vietnamese or Viet Cong, but by the treachery of the opposition and the gutlessness of the government who sent them there, and snuck them back at the end of their tours of duty like thieves in the night, as if their service was something to be ashamed of.
Gathering of Eagles, gained the support of most veterans groups, and turned up on the day in huge numbers, some reports indicate up to 30,000, which even if exaggerated as some claim, was a great effort. Anti war moon bats now know they are opposed.
Learning from their own experiences at the end of their war, they have applied that knowledge in ensuring that the new generation of warriors knows that they have the support of their elder brothers in arms.
Here is what William Russell a veteran himself, (Yes that’s the one standing against Murtha) has to say about it (in Part): -
“They come wearing motorcycle leather and business suits. They sport crew cuts and ponytails, some wearing long un-trimmed beards, others clean-shaven. They park their Harley’s, Gold Wings, and three wheelers in rows flying the Stars and Strips and the black POW/MIA flags. Many bear scars and tattoos commemorating their service in Vietnam.
They often come to stand guard over the memorial bearing the names of their comrades who fell during the long years of their generation’s war to prevent the anti-war protesters of today’s struggle from defacing it, again.
Upon meeting veterans of the current war against Radical Islam, many of whom are young enough to be their grandsons, they wrap them in bear hugs and say “Welcome Home, Brother.”
They are now the older brothers of our Brotherhood of Arms. These are the men who so many of my generation looked up to as the heroes who were betrayed. They fought an unpopular and ugly war that did have a purpose in the worldwide struggle against communism, against an enemy who remained faceless in the jungles of a far off land. But that purpose is so often hidden or disregarded in the movies, history books, and writings since.
They bear the unseen scars of coming home from their war only to be welcomed in San Francisco and New York and many college campuses with protests and taunts of “Baby Killer!” and “Murderer.” The anger of having one of the most famous starlets of their generation go to the home of the enemy they were fighting and provide aid and encouragement to that enemy runs deep. The hurt of having one who stood among their ranks for a short period of time, sit before the Congressional Committees and lie about atrocities they did not commit, be rewarded with election to the United States Congress and Senate and a run for the highest office of this land, runs deeper.
But once again, the real heroes of that generation are stepping up and are looking out for their little Brothers and Sisters who are fighting in a far off land. They know this enemy here at home and they are watching the backs of their younger siblings. They are not allowing this anti-war movement to go unanswered. They are stepping up to speak the truth about the self-described “heroes” of their generation, and prevented one from becoming President. They are standing on street corners near Walter Reed, in West Chester, PA and Berkley, CA to counter Code Pink and other anti-war protesters.
They form the core of groups like the Patriot Guard Riders, who ride in processions to welcome home the fallen and protect their families from the most despicable of anti-war protesters who show up at the funerals. The Free Republic “Freepers” stand vigil outside Walter Reed to cheer our Wounded Warriors on Friday nights to let them know the Code Pink protesters across the street do not speak for the people of this nation. The Gathering of Eagles organizes pro-troop counter protests to the anti-war protesters and stand toe to toe with them.
Then there are the motorcycle clubs like the Rolling Thunder and the Nam Knights who stand vigil over the memorials to prevent further defacement and insults to their fallen brothers and sisters. And there are the USO volunteers who greet service men and women returning from overseas at airports across the country to let them know they are appreciated.
Just as my older Brothers in Arms welcomed me and so many of my Brothers and Sisters of my generation home, I want to say to them as individuals and as a group: “Thank you for being home, Brother, and watching over me.”
I hope Australian veterans form such a group; I have a feeling they will be sorely needed.