Sisters residents hear Gold Star Moms


Last updated 4/11/2006 at Noon

Lynn Woodward

Katie Cavanaugh (center) offered folk songs in support of Gold Star Mothers Michelle DeFord and Lynn Bradach.

A contingent of Sisters area residents trekked to Redmond last week to learn about the impact of the war in Iraq from two women who have experienced it first-hand.

Michelle DeFord and Lynn Bradach each lost a son killed in action in Iraq.

The two Gold Star Mothers of Oregon spoke to a group gathered at the Historic Redmond Church on Saturday morning. Sisters folk singer Katie Cavanaugh opened the discussion with several of her original songs on the theme of war and peace.

DeFord’s story reported facts, the numbers, contrasting them to the words the leaders of our country use when describing their decisions and actions on the Iraq War; Bradach came from a personal, emotional perspective “in hopes that my words and actions can keep some other families from feeling what I feel.”

Both of their sons volunteered for service: Sgt. David Johnson in the National Guard, Travis Bradach-Nall in the Marines. Upon deployment, Bradach’s son called home to ask, “Can you tell me what’s going on? Why are we going to war?”

Bradach asked the listeners, “How can you listen to the lies, and to the truths, and not speak out? Not act?” DeFord said that, time and again, she “sees fear as the reason, and fear as the method of domination by our government.”

DeFord urges the community to “take back the Senate and the House.” And to write and speak with our representatives. She reports that representatives pay little attention to e-mails, but that by law, they must open and document letters. And said, “Do not let a representative tell you, like I have been told, ‘The war is not my issue.’”

The only peace DeFord and Bradach find is in speaking out and taking action. DeFord says, “Support our troops: Bring them home now. And take care of them when they get here.”

The suicide rate of in-action and off-duty military from this war is the highest of any war in which our country has been involved, she said.

Bradach said, “We cannot blame the troops for the atrocities; they are doing as they are ordered. We cannot prepare them phychologically: How can a soldier watch his friends get blown away and then be expected to stay on an even keel?” Bradach’s son, Travis, was killed by a cluster bomb, a U.S.-made landmine. Travis had volunteered to stay an extra three months, clearing unexploded ordnances.

Bradach is currently personally involved in clearing landmines in Cambodia, will be clearing in Croatia, and “will get into Iraq to complete what my son was doing.”

More information can be found at the Web sites of these organizations in which DeFord and Bradach are involved: Rural Organizing Project,; Gold Star Families Speak Out,; Adopt-A-Landmine,


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