Tampa, Florida —- The United States of America is much different than it was five years ago. This afternoon approximately 150 protesters—-all ages, all races—-lined the sidewalk along Florida Avenue in downtown Tampa to speak out against the War in Iraq.
Among those voicing their opinion was Retired Major Air Force veteran Debra Hedding, a member of Veterans for Peace.
“I'm here to support all the folks that are here, to send the message to the White House that we need to bring our troops home” says Hedding.
During her 25 years in the Air Force, her stints ranged from the Vietnam War to Operation Desert Storm. During the latter she was a staff officer for General Norman Schwarzkopf. She retired in 1998 and soon thereafter gained a whole new perspective.
“You take the blinders off when you get out and you're not there with the day in and day out hype and the propaganda coming at you at all directions, you actually get to see very clearly once you get out into the real world” says Hedding.
The battle away from home has also generated a bit of a battle for Hedding at home. Her husband is retired Air Force and does not agree with her views, however many of her friends who are ex-military do.
“They're saying; thank you for being out there. I'd lose my clearance if I was there, so you're there for me.”
Tampa Bay's 10 News