- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 25, 2003

The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq is awakening the activist spirit in America's teenagers and young adults, with many adding their voices to the war debate and taking to the streets for the first time in their lives.
Bob Nardo is one of them. He and other young Republicans from American University have gathered to wave U.S. flags outside the French Embassy in Washington a show of displeasure for that country's lack of support.
"Some of us feel like all we're hearing is, 'All students are against the war and listening to the Beatles,'" says Mr. Nardo, a junior studying public affairs. "A lot of us are feeling trapped and misrepresented."
Christin Hinojosa has become involved by performing "guerrilla theater" with a group that includes her mother and brothers.
The day after the first U.S. strike on Iraq, Miss Hinojosa and others dressed in white, with faces and arms painted white, to play the part of war victims, throwing themselves onto downtown Chicago sidewalks to feign death.
"I think a lot of people, no matter how they feel, are reacting out of fear," says Miss Hinojosa, a graduate student at the University of Chicago's school of social work. "For us, on the side of peace, we're feeling that if we don't stop the war and don't voice dissent, then we are in more danger."
With faces painted like skulls and hands covered in red paint to depict blood, her brothers Damien and Mateo Hinojosa marched over the "victims" and waved "WAR" flags. Onlookers stopped to stare, with looks ranging from amusement to bewilderment to anger.
"You're pitiful disgusting," one man shouted from an open window several stories up, as the group made its way to an anti-war demonstration.
The Chicago event was part of the broadest round of anti-government protests in years.
The war also has prompted several pro-American counterdemonstrations and student rallies, from Northern Illinois University to California State University at Long Beach.
High school students are getting involved, too.
Candace Coleman, from Los Angeles, hung "War Is The Answer" posters at her high school after some students staged an anti-war walkout.
Such walkouts happening at scores of high schools and universities across the country are among many signs that this war has touched a nerve for America's new generation.
"Few issues have made me so passionate. Protesters for and against the war are almost as passionate as those during Vietnam," says Miss Coleman, who became involved because she was "tired of seeing anti-Americanism run amok."
Some young people are so angry that they are setting aside day-to-day activities; others are making their statements in quieter ways.
Kelli Stripling, 23, a loan officer from Lawrenceville, Ga., says she is showing her support for U.S. troops by refusing to buy concert tickets and compact discs for the country group the Dixie Chicks.
New Yorker Jessica Beattie also prefers other methods to protesting.
"I don't think protest rallies change minds," says Miss Beattie, 24, a Brooklyn resident who opposes the war.
Still others say it's time to drop the debate. "Regardless of your opinion, I think people should just suck it up," says Devin Conroy, a freshman at Catholic University of America. "If everyone unites, it'll be a much better scenario for our country."

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