(Two teens here in Beaverton had their homes vandalized on 9/11. I’m asking everyone to reads the blog post linked here. Then add a comment to show compassion and courage in the face of bigotry. I will pass on the comments to the teens and their families. Thank you.)
Tonight’s giving was to meet the folks at the Washington County Peace Vigil and hear their stories.
In the wake of the disturbing story of vandalism, bigotry and cruelty I heard yesterday I thought it would be appropriate to visit the most peaceful people in town – The Washington County Peace Vigil.
Over the blare of supportive horns, I met them in the same place I visited them in July – the same spot they have met every Wednesday night for 6 years. Rain or shine.
Allen, Annie, Marshall, and Kevin who were all quite courteous and willing to talk. After some introductions to explain who I was, Kevin and I quickly settled into a nice conversation about why the vigil started.
It was organized in 2005 through moveon.org to support Cindy Sheehan’s campout in front of President Bush’s ranch in Texas. Turnout was large at the event and there was interest in continuing it the next week. With many newly found friends, Kevin and Suzie came back the next week. Because interest stayed high, they kept coming back. Sometimes there were hundreds of people. Sometimes just a handful. But they kept coming.
Being a self-proclaimed numbers guy, co-founder Kevin told me that our military costs every citizen in the United States $10 per day. To put it in concrete terms, he asked me to imagine a $100 bill lying on the ground in front of us. Then he asked me to imagine the park we stood in covered in $100 bills. Then he told me that the amount we are spending annually on the military would require those $100 bills to stack up 3/4 of a mile. That’s not chump change!
Eventually, Suzie wandered over and Kevin introduced us. Suzie is the co-founder of the group. She has experience protesting from the 60’s, but says she has never stayed with a protest this long. We talked about the cost of war and the cost of doing nothing. We talked about Libya and Afghanistan.
I asked them about hecklers. They laughed as they told me how they occasionally get the one-fingered peace sign.
They also told me how one very regular protester would routinely drive by them, offering a finger, and yelling obscenities. Then he would then drive up around the corner and park in front of the church on the corner. Remarkable.
But the hecklers are few and far between now. I asked if they just outlasted them. With a smile, Suzie and Kevin said they must have.
I asked them how long they expected the vigil to continue. There were some shrugs. No plans to quit, I was told. I sensed that it won’t go on forever, but probably won’t stop anytime soon.
Maybe that’s the way it is with peace. You never really know how long it will last, but you sure like it while it’s here.
Let’s hope that I continue to find the Peace Vigil still going strong in that same spot for a long, long time.