About 90 people packed a meeting room at the Yorktowne Hotel for a "Take a Stand" town hall meeting, which was sponsored by local anti-war group People for Peace and Justice and several other organizations calling for the end of the war.
"I had no idea there was going to be this many people here," said Leada Dietz, a coordinator for People for Peace and Justice in York.
The meeting was set up in part to rally people into calling for congressional leaders to push for a withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.
People for Peace and Justice, along with the national group Iraq Summer and the Coalition for Peace Action, have been targeting several leaders, including Rep. Todd Platts, R-York County, to call for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Dietz said Platts was invited to last night's meeting, but he did not attend.
But Jason Torpey, a former Army captain who served in Baghdad from 2003 to 2004, did attend the meeting and told the standing-room-only crowd that after witnessing the damage caused by the war, he has lost much of his belief that American troops could help improve Iraq.
"I had a lot of hope when I went," Torpey said. "That hope went downwards."
Pam Adams, whose stepson, Sgt. 1st Class Brent Allen Adams, 40, of Allegheny County, was killed in action in Iraq in 2005, urged the crowd to remember that
every soldier killed in Iraq has a story and a family.
"It's well past time to start bringing them home," Adams said.
Dietz urged the crowd to attend five town hall meetings Platts will be holding in York and throughout his congressional district in September.
"His district needs to stand up and say: 'Hey, we want our soldiers to come home,'" Dietz said.
Deb Mandour, 44, of York City, said she attended the meeting last night because she thinks it is important that people don't forget that each soldier killed in Iraq has a story and is not just a number.
Mandour said she wants the U.S. to pull out of Iraq, but she knows it can't be done instantly.
"I know it can't be done like that," she said. "I'm a realist. But sooner rather than later would be preferable."
-- Reach Brock Parker at 505-5434 or email@example.com.