After son’s death in Iraq, mother starts organization to end war

Jackie Valley

Rosemary Palmer, whose son, Edward “Augie” Schroeder, was killed in Iraq in August 2005, said Americans have a job to do: Take action to end the Iraq War and “as soon as possible, bring our soldiers home.”

“Every violent death tears a hole in the soul of the universe,” she said.

Now, Palmer said, the Iraq War has caused too many innocent lives to be lost without a worthwhile cause.

“There are way too many holes in the soul of our universe,” she said.

Palmer said her son grew up in New Jersey and often made trips to Manhattan near the Twin Towers. In high school, she said Augie took an emergency medical training course because “he liked to help people.”

Palmer said Augie came back to Ohio to attend Ohio State, but Sept. 11 changed the course of his destiny.

“Our son, like so many Americans, couldn’t resist the call to arms, so he joined the Marine Reserves,” she said.

Initially, Palmer said, her son had an optimistic view about the war, but after spending several months in Iraq, she said he told her, “The closer we get to going home, the less worth the cost.”

She said Augie told her the war in Iraq is a “never-ending circle” of troops entering Iraqi cities with a mission of “go, clear, leave,” only to have Iraqi insurgents return as soon as American troops leave.

As Augie experienced the dangers of war firsthand, Palmer said she and her husband, Paul Schroeder, like other soldiers’ families, experienced the fears and dangers of the war vicariously – watching daily news reports detailing the violence and life loss in Iraq each day.

“Think of the families at home, because it’s not just the guys in the field who are going through these dangers,” she said.

On Aug. 3, 2005, when news broke that 14 marines had been killed near Haditha, Iraq, when an Amtrack vehicle struck a land mine, Palmer said she and her husband knew something was terribly wrong. Three hours later, two uniformed Marines arrived at their house to inform them of their son’s death.

After her son’s death, Palmer and her husband created Families of the Fallen for Change, an organization advocating for the end of the war. The organization now has more than 1,400 members nationwide.

“My husband and I knew we had a duty to tell the world, like our son said, ‘This war is not worth the cost,'” she said.

Contact student politics reporter Jackie Valley at [email protected].