by David Hovde, delegation member
On October 27, one of eleven regional “End the Iraq War Now” rallies around the U.S. took place in Jonesborough, Tennessee, home of the Aerojet Ordnance plant which produces weapons containing Depleted Uranium (DU).
Depleted Uranium (DU) is the by-product of the uranium enrichment process through which uranium is prepared for use in nuclear power plants, or to make nuclear weapons. The army uses DU, a substance twice as dense as lead, to make bullets, shells and armor for tanks. DU shells can penetrate other metals easily, igniting into flame and releasing radioactive dust that contaminates the air, soil, and water. Once DU is in the human system, it can cause cancer and birth defects in offspring. The U.S. uses DU weapons in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Over 400 people, including 4 CPT delegation members, joined the rally. Participants gathered in a park where they were met by counter-demonstrators, many from a veterans group, shouting and riding motorcycles loudly through the streets. Ralliers later drove to the entrance of the Aerojet plant where they established a visible, vocal presence calling for an end to DU weapons production.
Throughout the week following the rally, CPT delegates met with veterans, medical personnel, former plant employees, church leaders, government officials, researchers, military recruiters and local residents, both to learn more and to raise awareness about the dangers of DU.
The Delegation culminated with a worship service across the road from the Aerojet plant. Through scripture, songs, and prayers, delegates emphasized people’s responsibility to make products for life, not death.
Members of CPT’s October 26 – November 4, 2007 DU delegation were Mabel Brunk
(Goshen, IN), Lois Dickason (South Haven, MI), David Hovde (Evanston, IL) and Juanita Shenk (Elkhart, IN).