Marine Mother Upset By War Memorial Service

Monday, March 26th 2007, 8:53 pm

By: News On 6

An Oklahoma mother whose son was killed in Iraq is outraged over a memorial service held for the troops last week. The Tulsa Peace Fellowship, an anti-war group, organized the memorial to mark the four-year anniversary of the war. The group says it intended to honor fallen soldiers, but Katrina Graham says the group did the exact opposite. The News On 6’s Chris Wright reports the Marine mother is still angry, and believes the service sullied the memory of her son.

Members of the Tulsa Peace Fellowship gathered at the East Side Christian Church last Monday to mark the fourth anniversary of the beginning of combat in Iraq. Organizers of the memorial say it was not a protest, but instead a tribute to those lost.

"We're definitely pro-troops. They are our neighbors, our friends, they're our family,” Tulsa Peace Fellowship member Nancy Moran said. “We have empathy, sympathy, for all them."

Those in attendance also read the names of every Oklahoman killed in the war aloud, and that is what has Katrina Graham so angry. Her son, Marine Sergeant James Graham III, died while serving in Iraq in August of 2005. She says she was not invited to the service, and believes it was a thinly veiled peace protest.

"Call it what it is,” she said. “Don't hide behind the memories of these men and women who have given their lives in this war."

Now that her son is gone, Katrina says all she has left is his memory, and she does not wish to see it associated with anti-war groups.

"I don't want his memory sullied at all with protestors not supporting the war," said Graham.

Katrina says she and her family usually look forward to the memorials that honor James, but after last week's they will be wary of them.

"That's all we have, if somebody wants to memorialize them, that's all we have," she said.

The News On 6 did speak with Nancy Moran, the head of the Tulsa Peace Fellowship. She says her organization sympathizes with families who have lost loved ones in the war, and its members did not mean to offend any of them.

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