SACRAMENTO, CA - Reaction to President Barack Obama's announcement to seek Congressional approval for an attack in Syria has divided many. Some demonstrators have protested against any kind of strike. Meanwhile, local members of the Syrian American Council are planning a vigil to support military action.
"Tonight's vigil just is silent. We're going to stand in honor of the lives that we've lost, especially the children and light some candles, and just stand, so the American people know the suffering that we are going through," said Syrian American Council member Zak Q., who asked that his last name not be used out of fear that his family members in Syria could be at risk for his speaking out.
He remains hopeful the U.S. will eventually launch strikes against the Assad regime.
"Hope that the American people, our fellow Americans just take a look at the facts and see what's going on in Syria and just urge their representatives to just do the right thing," Zak Q. said.
Congressman John Garamendi said he's grateful the president is seeking Congressional authorization.
"I want to go back. I want to hear all of the information, classified and others," Garamendi said. "There's other kinds of issues that are out there, all of the unintended consequences, the things that are not anticipated could actually happen. We need to weigh all of those things, but what I know today, I'm a no vote."
Chief among Garamendi's concerns is what the goal of a military strike against the Assad regime would be.
"Take out a few of his military assets? Is that punishment? Can we actually do anything about the chemical weapons that he has? Right now, the answer appears to be no we can't," Garamendi said.
But others fear the consequences of inaction, even in the time leading up to the debate.
"In the next couple of weeks, I might lose one of my relatives because the regime has nothing to fear and just continue to kill people," Zak Q. said.
Congress will reconvene Sept. 9, but as a member of the Armed Services Committee, Garamendi said he expects to be called back to Washington either Tuesday or Wednesday. In the meantime, he plans to meet with constituents as he prepares for the vote.
The Syrian American Council held a candle light vigil Sunday at 8 p.m. at the corner of Arden Way and Challenge Way. Members said they'll host several events in the days leading up to the debate with the hope of raising awareness about the struggles in Syria.