It is no secret Berkeley, Calif., has earned a reputation for being a quirky and odd town that bear hugs radical leftist activism.
This week, however, I had the chance to see this description is grossly understated, at least when it comes to its leaders and their enablers. The offices of Berkeley’s city government are little more than a steaming pit that has collected the discarded trash of American society.
I’m sure there are some decent people in Berkeley, and in fact I met a few of them when they joined patriots for a protest against the Berkeley City Council after that council declared a war against our American military personnel – calling them “uninvited and unwelcome intruders.” These local residents were embarrassed at the shameful conduct by their city leaders.
Tuesday, shortly before dawn rose over the quiet waters of the San Francisco Bay, the true character of Berkeley revealed itself to me. I was in the studio of KSFO AM 560, where I co-host the morning drive-time radio program, keeping a close eye on the television monitors as they were broadcasting live coverage of pro-military demonstrations that were taking place outside the city council chambers.
Stunned, I watched as anarchist, left-wing radicals marched into the crowd of pro-troop supporters, pushing them aside and knocking them down with their signs. They screamed hateful anti-American jeers into the faces of veterans and elderly ladies who were doing little more than waving American flags.
As the leader of the pro-troop organization, Move America Forward, I was propelled to act – our group had organized the patriotic demonstration against Berkeley’s actions, and I could not sit back and watch my people being run down by the Marxists of Code Pink, International ANSWER and The World Can’t Wait.
I apologized to my radio colleagues, threw down my radio headset, flipped off the microphone and jumped in my car, rushing to the frontlines of the pro-troop rally in Berkeley.
Throughout the day I witnessed a spectacle that made my blood boil and stabbed my heart in pain. Despite the permits we had obtained from the City of Berkeley for our pro-troop rally, we looked on in amazement as the Berkeley City Police, under orders from city officials, stood down time and again, despite attacks, provocation and intimidation from the Marxist, anti-military protesters.
Part of that crowd consisted of hormonally charged teenagers clad in orange scarves to obscure their faces. Berkeley School District officials chose the side of Marxist tyranny over support for our troops and let these students out of class to confront pro-troop demonstrators.
The anti-American thugs marched repeatedly into our crowd, grabbing American flags from our supporters and setting them on fire. They mobbed the Berkeley Police Department station and taunted the police. They carried signs that denounced our military men and women and used those signs as weapons against patriotic Americans.
But the sheer guts of our pro-troop supporters never flagged. When the anti-military protesters could not succeed in getting our patriots to disperse, the radicals tried to shut us down by cutting the wires on our sound equipment. Patriots rushed to protect the sound equipment and pushed back the assailants.
Gold Star Mom Debbie Lee and Marine Mom Deborah Johns formed a human shield around some of the equipment while hundreds of young students shouted insults and threats towards these military mothers. Lee’s son was the first Navy Seal killed in Iraq, and Deborah’s son is a Recon Marine who served three tours of duty in Iraq, and neither of them were going to back down one inch in their support of our military men and women.
In the middle of the day I took a step back from the melee to watch the scene, wondering how this city and its leaders could live in a great nation such as ours and yet have so much contempt for those who preserve our safety and freedoms.
But there was an electric spirit running through the crowd of pro-troop supporters. It was the same motivation that caused me to leave my job on the radio to come stand shoulder-to-shoulder with people who flew in from all around the country to express their outrage. The crowd included members of Gathering of Eagles, EaglesUp, the American Legion, Blue Star Mothers of America, Military Order of the Purple Heart, VFW chapters, Operation Gratitude, Soldiers Angels, and Vets for Freedom.
Our pro-troop demonstrators manned the protest lines from 5 a.m. Tuesday until 2 a.m. the next day, and their resolve only grew as the hours passed. The media estimates some 2,000 people participated in the nearly 24-hour long protest.
In the middle of the pro-troop crowd stood a young man named Eamon Kelly, a young Marine who had been discharged after honorably serving his nation. Eamon’s steely grit and passion provided oxygen in the super-charged atmosphere for the side of the Marines in their battle with the city of Berkeley.
Eamon Kelly sits in front of Melanie Morgan. Free Republic founder Jim Robinson – a great patriot himself – is in the wheelchair on the left.
Eamon had just undergone back surgery and was under strict orders not to walk more than 10 minutes every two hours. His mother, Elizabeth, had decided to come out to the pro-troop rally on Tuesday and told Eamon he shouldn’t join her because of the recent surgery. But Eamon Kelly insisted on coming, in large part because he feared for his mother’s safety.
Young Mr. Kelly stood vigil in support of our troops for 12 hours, propped up by a cane. He endured excruciating pain and withstood verbal attacks from the anti-military protesters. Fellow patriots tended to Eamon throughout the day, doing all they could to ensure his comfort and safety.
I want to share with you the contents of an e-mail sent by Eamon’s mother:
Because of the recent surgery I did not want Eamon to attend at all. Eamon insisted on coming with me because he was concerned for my safety. Once there Eamon absolutely refused to leave. He wanted to stand for all of his fellow Marines who could not be there to show their support. Eamon has a childhood best friend Alan Friedman, and they joined the Marine Corps together. Alan went to Iraq, and his Humvee was hit by an IED. Alan survived the attack, and Alan later witnessed a buddy shot in the back by a sniper, standing in the exact spot where Alan had been standing moments earlier. The buddy had to be resuscitated five times, but he is alive today. Other friends of Eamon’s have been killed in Iraq. Stories like these are what kept him going that day. Eamon is really an inspiration to me. I will not forget the day he came home after boot camp, and I told him I was worried about him going to war. He told me, “Mom, it’s OK. I am perfectly willing to die for my country.”
Yesterday Eamon was very tired and hurting, but he could not stop talking about the events that happened during the protest. Eamon could not believe the amount of people who came up to shake his hand and thank him for his service. One gentleman there was wearing a hard hat, and I think he was part of a union. He told Eamon that he was a former Marine. He said he had been watching Eamon for a few hours, and that he and his fellow union members had seen Eamon and I being accosted by the opposition. If our safety had at any time been in question, that entire group of men would have dealt severely with anyone trying to hurt us. Of course those were not his exact words because I’m trying to be a lady.
There was a table set up in the park, and they were selling Marine T-shirts. I offered to buy Eamon one. Eamon chose the one he wanted, but when I took out my purse to pay for it, one of the Patriot Guard Riders who was standing there said, “Put that away, I’m paying for this.” Eamon said, “I can’t let you do that, sir,” but the man insisted on making the purchase.
I wish I had thought to ask people for their names and phone numbers so I could personally thank them. There was a young lady named Danielle who was by our side most of the day, and then she was the one who ran to fetch snacks and juice for Eamon so he would not take his meds on an empty stomach. The medic who helped Eamon was so very kind and thoughtful. Another lady gave Eamon her scarf, and Eamon was still wearing it when he came home, and I wish I knew who she was so that I may return it. There was a gentleman who came to help support Eamon when he was having difficulty standing, and he never told me his name. Right now I’m fighting back the tears just thinking about that evening.
Today Eamon is doing so much better. It was worth the pain and suffering for Eamon to see that people do believe in the Marine Corps. Many times since Eamon came home he has been in arguments with left-wing radicals who berate him for his service. He said he felt unwanted and unappreciated. At the protest Eamon was welcomed with open arms. People would kiss him on the cheek and shake his hand. Some of the biker guys said that as soon as he is well enough to ride a motorcycle he can ride with them. I can’t thank you all enough at Move America Forward for bringing my son out of his depression. Right now he is talking on the phone with a friend and going over the events of Tuesday, Feb. 12.
Eamon is smiling, animated, and he is feeling so much better about himself.
Eamon Kelly served his nation as a United States Marine, and he continues to serve our country to this day.
If you would like to write a note to Eamon, please e-mail me at [email protected] and I will be happy to forward your messages along to him.
The Berkeley City Council owes Eamon an apology for the way they have allowed his brothers and sisters in the Marine Corps family to be hounded by people who aren’t worthy to shine his spit-polished boots.
If I could force the Council to say they were sorry with threats, taunts or tears, I would.
Unfortunately, most of the members just care about public relations and appeasing their radical leftist base. They possess not even the slightest bit of concern for the human beings forced to bear their insults and campaigns of intimidation.
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