Despite a Saturday forecast of rain, about 100 people gathered at Midtown Park on South Kings Drive to protest what they called unconstitutional and undeclared wars.
Wounded soldiers, politicians and local preachers were among the crowd aiming to educate the public, said organizer Daniel Rufty. Though the event targeted conservative Republicans, it was open to anyone.
We are trying to put pressure on our representatives, Rufty said. The goal is to bring soldiers back from the war. ...Were not against war, were against undeclared wars.
Rufty defined an undeclared war as a conflict that lacks a formal declaration of war by Congress. He uses the United States wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as involvement in Libya, as examples of conflicts fought without declarations being issued.
World War II was the last time the U.S. issued a formal declaration of war.
In June 2011, the Obama administration defended the countrys position in Libya, telling The New York Times, President Obama had the authority to continue the military campaign without Congressional approval because American involvement fell short of full-blown hostilities.
As a former soldier, Rufty, who served in the Army from 2005-2009, said he understands firsthand the effects of war, physically and mentally. After suffering an injury to his ACL in his left knee, he was placed in a warrior transition unit in Fort Jackson, S.C. a military treatment facility that supports soldiers who require months of rehabilitative care and medical management.
He saw wounded soldiers with amputated limbs and post-traumatic stress disorder following accidents. As a soldier, Im ready for peace, Rufty said.
Richard Rivette, a 2012 Republican candidate for District 38 in the N.C. Senate, spoke at Saturdays event in favor of protesters.
The Constitution is immutable, Rivette told the Observer. We have set things in there that tell us what to do and when we stray from that, we find ourselves in trouble.
Participant Scott Jordan of Charlotte said he was pleased to see individuals at the protest from all political viewpoints focused on a common goal. Though Jordan is not against war, he said, I dont think we (the U.S.) should be the police of the world.
Nicholas Williams, 14, drove about four hours from Pink Hill, near Goldsboro, to attend the protest. This is my future, Williams said. My generation is going to be left with ending these unconstitutional wars and the debt they cause.
Aside from addressing current wars, protesters also raised concerns about the United States possible involvement in Syria.
Demonstrators passed around a petition urging protesters to support the Syria Non-intervention Act of 2012. If passed, the House bill would prohibit the Department of Defense from using available funds to support military operations in Syria.
Each one of us is going to have to stand up and put pressure on our representatives to end this war, Rufty said to the crowd. This is patriotism and we are patriots.