View Full Version : Iraq veteran and 9/11 survivor: Sheehan's son died for good cause

07-21-07, 07:49 AM
Iraq veteran and 9/11 survivor: Sheehan's son died for good cause

Mark Finelli escaped the attack on the World Trade Center towers on 9/11. It was an experience that led him to join the Marines and spend seven months in Iraq.

By coincidence, Finelli found himself in Lynchburg yesterday as anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan was preparing for a peace rally. He wasn't there to protest Sheehan's appearance. Finelli just happened to be in town visiting friends when he learned Sheehan was passing through Lynchburg. Finelli says he admires Sheehan for taking a stand, he just thinks she's wrong.

The Hampden-Sydney College graduate was working in the South Tower of the World Trade Center when the planes hit on 9/11. Finelli ran down 61 flights of stairs to safety, and he decided that day to join the Marines.

First, he needed to get in shape. Finelli says he would run up and down the stairs of Lynchburg's Monument Terrace just to get motivated. "Because one, I felt like Rocky Balboa in Philadelphia," he says, "and two, I got to see the heroes on either side."

Lynchburg's Monument Terrace is also was where Cindy Sheehan kicked off her anti-war, pro-impeachment rally Thursday night. Finelli says he understands Sheehan's desire to make her son's death count for something, but he thinks it already has. "I don't think she's doing the wrong thing, and my heart goes to her and my prayers are with her because her son and that must be very difficult," says the Iraq War veteran. "But I just hope she knows her son died for a good cause. I don't think she knows that."

Finelli feels the war in Iraq and Afghanistan has made America safer and those soldiers killed in action haven't died in vain. As Sheehan calls for a pullout, Finelli thinks America needs more troops there. "I want to see less people be hurt and less people die, and if we pull out of Iraq... the next terrorist attack in this country is going to make September 11 look like a Swiss picnic," says Finelli. "I don't know if people realize that, but that's what's going to happen."