PHOTO GALLERY: Columbia Peace Coalition holds Afganistan peace rally

Monday, October 12, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 7:47 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, October 13, 2009
From left to right, Michael Ugarte, Mary Mosley, Bill Monroe and Emily Monroe wait for speakers to begin at the "Eight is (More Than) Enough: End the Wars Peace Rally" at Courthouse Square on Sunday, Oct. 11. Bill Monroe came to the rally from Fulton, where he works with Democracy for Missouri.
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COLUMBIA — “Out of Afghanistan and Iraq, let them have their countries back” was one of the phrases used at a peace gathering Sunday, the eighth anniversary of the start of the war in Afghanistan.

The Columbia Peace Coalition sponsored the event, which drew around 75* people to the square outside the Boone County Courthouse. The group's goal is to get the word out that people are not satisfied with war.

Veterans for Peace Executive Director Capt. Michael McPhearson spoke about the impact of war on families and society. His military record includes six years in the Army reserve and five years of active duty in the Army.“You can’t just hope for a change, you have to push politicians into the right direction, because the other side is pushing too,” McPhearson said.

Brian Beckstrom, a 29-year-old MU graduate student, was the only rally attendee with a different agenda. “I’m not pro-war, but I’m not against the current war. Obama said we should fight the war to win it and I agree,” Beckstrom said. Beckstrom said he believes leaving the war now would be a huge moral victory for the Al-Qaida.

A crowd begins to gather at Courthouse Square for the "Eight is (More Than) Enough: End the Wars Peace Rally" on Sunday, Oct. 11. The rally featured music and speeches from Michael McPhearson, executive director of Veterans for Peace, and Bill Ramsey, the founder of the Human Rights Action Service.
Axel Littlepage-Holmes, 3, presses his peace sign into the face of his father, Colan Holmes, at the "Eight is (More Than) Enough: End the Wars Peace Rally" at Courthouse Square. The rally marked the 8th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan.
Axel Littlepage-Holmes, 3, plays with a leaf in his peace sign at the "Eight is (More Than) Enough Peace Rally." His father, Colan Holmes, brought him to the rally.

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