Thank you to all who organized, donated, spoke, stood with us, and/or otherwise supported our Chandler Park Vigil for Peace against #WarWithIran. Thank you to the news agencies for their coverage of this event.
Transcript: President Heather McMeekan’s Event Emcee
“The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls.”
~ Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Thank you to all who donated food, supplies, and gifts of time and resources to make this event possible.
As the decisions of the Trump Administration drags our nation perilously closer to war with Iran, we are grateful for all who have chosen to stand with us as we say no to yet another endless, expensive war which we cannot support ethically, financially, nor spiritually. We stand as one human family to demonstrate that we oppose the bloody sacrifice of American lives, immoral and unilateral use of force against another country, and needless waste of taxpayer money.
At this time, I’d like to introduce Reverend Kelly Ingersoll, First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, for our convocation.
“It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
When a parent or caregiver serves in the Military, so does their family, including their children.
According to The National Child Traumatic Stress Network: “Children of military and veteran families experience unique challenges related to military life and culture. These include deployment-related stresses such as parental separation, family reunification, and reintegration; disruption of relationships with friends and neighbors due to frequent moves; and adaptation to new schools and new community resources. Added to this, some children face the trauma of a parent returning home from combat with injuries or illness; others must face their parent’s death.”
“According to the National Center for Children in Poverty: “Wartime parental deployments can be one of the most stressful events of a child’s life.17“
- “Changes reported included changes in school performance, lashing out in anger, worrying, hiding emotions, disrespecting parents and authority figures, feeling a sense of loss, and symptoms consistent with depression.18
- High levels of sadness were observed in children in all age groups.19
- Depression was seen in about 1 in 4 children.20
- Academic problems occurred in 1 in 5 children.21
- 37% of children with a deployed parent reported that they seriously worry about what could happen to their deployed caretaker.22
- Parents reported that 1 in 5 coped poorly or very poorly to deployment separation.23
- Media coverage of the war posed a significant source of stress for children and makes it much more difficult for children to cope with a parent’s deployment.24
- Length of deployment was associated with mental health problems including depression, acting out, and externalizing behaviors.25”
I’d like to introduce our next speaker. He’s a local businessman, a father, a grandfather, a husband, and a Vietnam Veteran, having served in the U.S. Army. Please welcome Paul Trimmer!
[Paul Trimmer, U.S. Army Veteran, Vietnam Veteran]
Role of Employment Status on Child Outcomes
- “Nearly 2/5ths (38.3 percent) of deployed services personnel are not full-time military.55 Many of the nearly 1.1 million individuals in the National Guard and Reserve components experience combat-related duty.56 Reserve and Guard troops represent a significant sub-population within the military, and face specific challenges that impact their families.
- Research shows that living on base is linked to reduced difficulties both during and after deployment.57
- Reservists and their families have less experience dealing with deployment and re-integration and less support than active duty soldiers and families.58
- Reservist families are less likely to be integrated into a military social support network, are less familiar with how to access military benefits and less likely to use installation-based services.59
- Reserve component soldiers were nearly one and a half times more likely to report mental health problems and over three times more likely to be referred for services than active duty personnel three to six months after their return.60 These higher levels of referrals were attributed to differential health benefits and supports for these individuals compared to active duty personnel.61
- Less than ½ of National Guard and Reserve families surveyed reported a consistent level of support during the pre-deployment, deployment and post-deployment phases. 17% reported no support.62”
Our nation does not exist to vote in leaders who condemn our children and grandchildren to fighting endless wars while the needs of our communities go unmet. We urge Congressman Darin LaHood (R-IL18) to join his Illinois Colleagues in the Senate, Illinois State Senators Tammy Duckworth & Dick Durbin, in putting the safety of our military members and our community’s next generation of soldiers above partisan politics by seeking diplomacy and de-escalation to protect lives, resources, and our crucial diplomatic ties with our allies around the world. We are handing out postcards that already have a stamp on them. Fill them out, and send them to US Congressman Darin LaHood. Make certain you state on there “I am a Consituent.”
Now I’d like to bring up University Professional of Illinois’s President, William “Bill” Thompson.
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” ~ President Dwight D. Eisenhower
- Please welcome Candace Whitman, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
Military Combat Deployments Increase Child Maltreatment Due to Toxic Stress
“Phases of deployment (pre-deployment, deployment and re-integration) are important and affect the children’s well-being. Both departures to, and returns from, combat deployment cause stress in families. Poorly supported families are at greater risk of psychological stress & long-term issues from combat deployments.”
- “Rates of maltreatment in military families far outpaced the rates among non-military families after the U.S. started sending larger numbers of troops to Afghanistan and Iraq in 2003.39
- Among families of enlisted U.S. Army personnel with substantiated reports of child maltreatment (physical, emotional or sexual abuse), rates of maltreatment are greater when the soldiers are on combat-related deployments.
- The rate of child maltreatment in families of enlisted Army soldiers was 42% higher during combat deployment than during non-deployment.40
- For military personnel with at least one dependent, the rate of child maltreatment increases by approximately 30% for every 1% increase in the number of active duty soldiers who depart or return from combat deployment.41” Source: http://www.nccp.org/publications/pub_938.html
Our next speaker, Emiliano Vera, is a teacher from Bushnell, and is running for State Representative in Illinois’s 93rd Congressional District. Please welcome Emiliano Vera!
Thank you. And thank you all for coming out evening. We must get our nation’s leaders, including our own US Congressman Darin LaHood (R-IL18) to oppose war with Iran and put country over ideology. We must. We must not hand our children yet another bloody, endless conflict that starves our nation of it’s promise, potential, and resources we should be using to the benefit and safety of all.
Please, speak the hard conversations with those who are still more afraid of revealing their opinions publicly rather than challenging those whose ignorance is tearing at the very fabric of our shared purpose. Our children need us all to have courage now. There is no alternative to demanding diplomacy and peace.
• Opening Remarks – Heather McMeekan, President, DWMC
• Convocation – Kelly Ingersol, First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ
• Paul Trimmer, US Army & Vietnam Veteran
• William “Bill” Thompson, UPI Local 4100 (WIU Faculty/Staff Union)
• Candace Whitman, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
• Emiliano Vera, Teacher, Candidate for State Representative (D-IL93)
• White Board Campaign with hashtag – get people to post on their own social media
• Sign the online petition to Rep LaHood
• Postcards to Rep LaHood, Senators Duckworth & Durbin