By Anne E. Kornblut
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards is calling on his supporters to turn this year's Memorial Day into a day of antiwar activism, saying that the best way to honor the troops is to demand an end to the Iraq war.
"Each of us has a responsibility as Americans, a duty to our troops and to each other, to do all we can to support the troops and end this war," the former senator from North Carolina said yesterday during a commencement address at New England College in Henniker, N.H.
"This Memorial Day weekend, that means more than just getting in your car, driving to the beach, or a parade, or a picnic and saying the words, 'We support our troops,' " Edwards said.
"We must take responsibility and take action together -- as citizens, as Americans, as patriots. To support the troops. To end the war."
Edwards, who is in the top tier of Democratic candidates and leads some public opinion surveys in Iowa, the first caucus state, has made his opposition to the war a central part of his campaign.
He apologized for his vote authorizing the invasion in 2003 -- a point of distinction between Edwards and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), another candidate -- and has called on Congress to stand up to President Bush. Edwards left the Senate in 2004 after one term.
Edwards, the former vice presidential nominee, suggested that people hold prayer vigils and send care packages to troops as part of the May 28 day of activism.
"On this Memorial Day weekend, let us all take responsibility for the country we love and the brave men and women who protect it," Edwards said. "As citizens, let us volunteer in support of our troops, to offer our service in honor of theirs. As Americans, let us take a moment to join in prayer for our troops in thanks for their sacrifice. And during this weekend, let us gather as patriots."
To help voters organize their efforts, the Edwards campaign launched a Web site, http://www.supportthetroopsendthewar.com.