We weren't in the huge numbers of people yesterday on the corner. There were only 12 of us. Three children rounded out the number to 15. The weather was bright and sunny and warm. Close to 80 degrees. No new faces. Everyone there had been there once before at least. I did have one man who teetered down the street towards us from a local bar. He j-walked across Main Street and walked right up to me. I was standing close to the middle of the group.
He looked at me and said, "Vietnam Veteran, eh?" I replied that indeed I was as I pointed to my baseball cap that said those words. He said that he was too. He stood there, slightly off-balance, I'd say from the activity he enjoyed just before walking over to us from Tim And Sandy's. I told him "Thanks for serving and welcome home." I offered my hand to shake. He shook my hand and asked me where I served in 'Nam'.
"I was with the 25th Infantry Division in 1969. CuChi, TayNihn, Northwest of Saigon." I replied. He told me he was on a ship in the Navy, He mentioned the name, but I didn't get it. He saluted me, or maybe it was the flag draped coffins on the sign I was carrying. I saluted him back and he wandered off. He didn't say anything about the war in Iraq or peace. But looked like he was trying to find peace this day in his own way.
That Vietnam Veterans hat I wear when I go to the Vigil is my trump card. Many times I see an old timer with a similar cap on as they drive by slowly and stare at the people assembled. In my opinion, I believe they are thinking that these are protesters against our country. I feel as though they want to say to "love it or leave it". They see an opposing point of view and hate it. At least that's how I feel they are thinking. No one ever confronts us. And the ones that wear the caps, like mine, drive off in silence because I don't think they dare come up to a combat Veteran and tell them thay can't think like they want to. We Veterans paid the price for freedom of speech, at least the little we have left.
But the real speech was sent to me in an e-mail from a friend yesterday. She is not a Veteran. She doesn't have a background that has shown her that war is terrible. She seems to just know it is a bad thing and wants it too end. I feel she had decided that her life will be spent with her country at war. This is what she said to me:
"35,000 more folks on tap to go to iraq. feeling a little sensitive today. i looked up at the beautiful blue sky with the newly green tree across the street waving in the breeze- and it was peaceful and beautiful- and all i could think was- i wonder if any iraqi women look up into their sky and miss their beautiful green tree waving in the breeze against a blue sky. i just want to live in peace and live a happy life. that isn't a certainty anymore. the way of life i envisioned for myself isn't going to come to be- because of politics. we are in the fight of our lives and our way of life- from our own people. there isn't anywhere to run and hide like i want to. i guess all we can do is keep fighting and live each moment. hope the folks in france know what they are getting. i wish them luck."
A paragraph defining the rest of the life of this human spirit. Sad. Sad to know she might be right. None of our lives will be the way they were envisioned. We might be fighting against those in our own country until we are dead. I am willing to, but don't want to. I wrote her back that I have already realized this to be the case and that I'm making peace around me in small piles. Hopefully it will spread to others and they'll tell two people and they'll tell two people and so on, Peace will spread in pockets of life all over the world.
In any event. We stood on the corner yesterday. A small group of people, and asked the world for peace. Many people honked their horns and waved, flashed us a peace sign and gave the thumbs up. I didn't see one person give me the finger. Maybe I quit looking for them. Like the noise a tree makes when it falls in a silent deserted forest, if I don't see one, then maybe there aren't any.
Sorry, no pictures. Just some thoughts. Peace to all.