Two war protests well-attended, peaceful
September 10-11, 2005
Brunswick, Sept. 10, 2005 - The first one, a march from the Brunswick village green to the main gate of the Brunswick Naval Air Station in advance of the Blue Angels Air Show, was sponsored by Maine Veterans for Peace and several other peace organizations. About 350 of us stepped off in a line, carrying signs, banners, puppets, and peace signs.
Leading the procession was a sobering procession of large, 3' x 8' silk-screened panels, each panel bearing the imprints of dozens of flag-draped coffins, with the name of a fallen military man or woman carefully penned in underneath each coffin imprint.
With now nearly 1,900 of our good military men and women lost in Iraq, the panels were many and the procession long. I helped carry the first panel, with Kathy Kelly, from Voices in the Wilderness and a scheduled speaker for the event, at the other end of the supporting bamboo pole as we walked in single file along the miles of road and sidewalk to the main gate of the base.
Outside the main gate, the crowd heard several speakers, including Doug Rawlings, president of Maine Veterans for Peace, Bruce Gagnon, Mary Beth Sullivan, and a few others whose names I did not catch. Two vocalists added piercing and soulful songs to the event.
Kathy Kelly, who has visited Iraq several times, spoke of the human cost to the Iraqis, the bombs which have been killing and maiming people who had done nothing to bring the U.S. venom down upon them.
Doug Rawlings spoke about being a veteran in an unnecessary war, in his case the Vietnam War. Excerpt:
"...We are threatening to the warmongers in this country because we speak from the ground truth of war: many of us have been to war, all of us have served in the military, and we can see through their smoke screens. We have become the watch dogs of the military, the hound dogs, and we're as tough as junkyard dogs: we will not let go until this country is freed from the military's stranglehold on the true American way of life. Our message will not waiver:
No more war! Stop the war in Iraq! Bring the troops home now!"
The full text of Doug's speech is posted here.
Bangor, Sept. 11, 2005 - I joined about 100 others protesting the Iraq War in a "Chain of Concern.
After hearing a few words from Doug Allen and others, and a singer accompanied by a cello, people with homemade signs stood for about an hour along Route 2 between Eastern Maine Medical Center and Mt. Hope Cemetery.
I was pleased to see that about a third of the cars who drove by on that busy street gave us signs of encouragement, in waves, honks or flashes of peace signs.
That event was sponsored by the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine.
September 9, 2005 - Press Advisory: Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in 2006 Jean Hay Bright of Dixmont, Maine will be participating in two anti-Iraq war events this weekend (Sept. 10-11)
Sept. 10, 2005 - 9 am - Jean Hay Bright will join Maine Veterans for Peace and other major peace and justice groups in a march from the Brunswick Mall to the main gate of the Brunswick Naval Air Station, where the Navy's "Blue Angels" Air Show is being held this weekend.
Hay Bright, who has made her opposition to the Iraq War a key focus in her 2006 bid for the U.S. Senate, said that while it is essential for the U.S. government to "provide for the common defense," the air show is both inappropriate and a totally unnecessary use of taxpayer money.
Co-sponsoring the protest march are Pax Christi Maine, PeaceWorks, Maine WILPF, Peace Action Maine, Smilin' Trees Disarmament Farm, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, Maine Coalition for Peace & Justice, Island Peace & Justice, Witness for Peace, Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine, Peninsula Peace & Justice, Winthrop Area People for Peace, Waldo County Peace & Justice. Also joining the march will be Kathy Kelly, founder of Voices in the Wilderness.
"The circus atmosphere around the air show, during which military pilots, flying incredibly expensive military aircraft, perform dangerous and unnecessary video-game-style stunts, is inappropriate in view of the ongoing war in Iraq. War is serious business. Dropping bombs on civilian targets in a sovereign country we invaded unprovoked is not something to celebrate or to mock-demonstrate.
"The use of these planes and the military facilities to put on this show of force is also an incredibly expensive taxpayer-funded public relations ploy in this time of massive budget deficits and the additional billions of dollars we must spend as a nation to deal with the horrible devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina."
Sept. 11, 2005 - 12 noon to 1 pm - Jean Hay Bright will join others protesting the Iraq War in a "Chain of Concern" in Bangor along Route 2 between Eastern Maine Medical Center and Mt. Hope Cemetery. The event is sponsored by the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine.