‘Respect soldiers, make peace’ Carbondale citizens gather to protest conflict in Iran

By Keaton Yates, Staff Reporter

Carbondale citizens brought signs, peace flags and grandchildren to send a message to U.S. Rep. Mike Bost (R-12) and protest escalations in the conflict with Iran.

Thursday evening, Georgeann Hartzog, a member of the Peace Coalition of Southern Illinois, held a vigil and march to congressman’s office after the Jan. 7 Iranian missile attacks on two Iraqi airbases housing American troops.

More than 3,000 service members will be deployed to the Middle East to respond to this conflict.  National Guard members with the 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry based in Marion are set to deploy to Afghanistan near the end of the month, including former Daily Egyptian sports editor Adam Warfel. 


In a statement released Wednesday by Bost, the congressman said he is thankful no American blood was shed.

“President Trump sent a strong message to the world that the United States will stand against terrorism and a nuclear Iran,” Bost said. “Hopefully, this will be an inflection point that spurs our friends and allies to join our efforts to promote peace and deter future terrorist attacks in the region.” 

Georgia de la Garza, Carbondale resident, held a green flag with a peace symbol for her husband, people of all countries, her children and her granddaughter, she said.

The flag belonged to de la Garza’s husband who worked in military intelligence and died of cancer after being exposed to toxins when he was a first-responder on 9/11.

“This flag was my husband’s flag. He worked with military intelligence. This flag has actually been to Iran and Iraq and Afghanistan and through Latin America,” de la Garza said. 

Garza’s husband hung the flag in his office when his tours ended; he passed away three years after 9/11, she said.

“The warmongering we have got to take down and we have got to change our culture in America to become a peaceful country,” de la Garza said.


Rene Cook brought her 5-year-old great-granddaughter to the vigil. She was there to protest the endless war in the Middle East, Cook said.

Raymond Lenzi, the democratic candidate for Illinois’ U.S. 12th congressional district, also attended the protest.

“We don’t need to spend money on war,” Lenzi said.

The United States can only afford to attack the climate emergency, he said. 

Standing towards the front of the march, Rich Whitney, also from Carbondale, said people need to stand up against the lawlessness of the federal government.

“It is doing things overseas, it is killing people overseas in our name, and it’s doing it in violation of international law and, I believe, against the will of the American people,” Whitney said. 

Staff reporter Keaton Yates can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @keatsians.

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