It was downright cold today on the corner. The temperature when we started was 5 degrees. With the Northwest wind, the wind chill was around 15 below zero. We all had our hoods pulled up over our necks as our backs were to the breeze today.
There were three people at the Peace Vigil, and a fourth showed up a little later. We got a lot of horn honks and waves and peace signs thrown our way. No one saw anyone give a mean gesture. That doesn't mean there weren't any, it just means we didn't see any.
There have been a couple of people who have e-mailed me with their input and observations about our Peace Vigil. This first letter is from a local woman that has lived in Ashland all her life and is raising a child here. Her name is Jennifer.
Here's her letter:
I have not yet joined the Peace Vigil, I do however read your bog weekly. I find it appalling that you get jeers, fingers, and rude gestures for doing something you believe in. We in this country have a right to our beliefs and opinions and have that right to express them as we see fit. I dont know how you can keep yourselves quiet when those insulting people are driving by. That is probably one reason why I dont come. I dont want to embarrass any of you or myself.
I probably have passed a number, if not all of you on the street. I was born and raised in Ashland and still live here A wonderful quiet beautiful community to live. A place where I chose to go to school, to work and to raise my son. I do think we all are a bit sheltered living in this area, the local news is just that....local. As I said at times, watching the local news is like watching anything that happens north of Duluth and the rest of the world doesn't exist. I wonder how many people read about or see on other news channels just exactly what is happening to not only our soldiers but to other human beings in other countries. It sickens me at times.
I wish for peace on earth and good will toward men. My son is 11 now. I remember first of all 9/11. We were watching a cartoon I believe, but that doesn't matter, I do know a phone call I received that said the WTC had been hit by a bomb. I turned the channel and saw the second plane crashing. Tears immediately rolled down my face. First for the victims of the buildings, their families, the rescue workers. Then I started thinking about the inevitible repercussions. I remember talking to my son about the war. About the killings. About the homes that are being destroyed in Iraq and Afghanistan. About the families being torn apart here and in the other countries. He said "Why can't they just get along?" A simple statement. Something we learn before kindergarten. But here we are, years into this god awful senseless war. Years of families missing families. Years lost forever. Years of tragedy and torture. It saddens me. Yet I am proud. I'm proud of those in the military, both ours and those fighting with us. Yet, that question, "why cant we just get along?"
So, thank you for your blog. Thank you for standing on Chapple and Second Street for 1 year, 52 weeks. Thank you for doing what I cant do.
Another woman, who identified herself as having two sons in the military service, one deployed in Iraq, the other about to be deployed to Afghanistan, wrote a comment here on this blog some time ago. She has since joined the Peace Vigil. Last week, three women stood on the corner and were jeered at. Here is a letter to the editor written by Kathy. It appeared in our local Ashland Daily Press:
Soldiers’ Mom is for Peace
Thank you for the Peace Vigil and those who stand for peace!
I stopped to thank the women who stood for peace at the post office corner on Tuesday evening, January 8. I thought I would just say thank you and leave. But I felt a comfort visiting with this grandmother of a combat soldier and the wife of a combat Vietnam veteran. The time went quickly, with many honks and friendly waves ... and then the “jeerster” came around the corner with his window down!
If he had stopped to talk to us I could’ve told him that my youngest son is serving his country in Iraq and that my oldest son will answer his call and deploy to Afghanistan this year.
He was correct, however, when he lashed out the words “freedom doesn’t come free.”
It is a great feeling to hear that we are supported by residents here in Ashland. It took a while, but I feel good being on that corner. I know we are standing there for those that couldn't make it or didn't make it. Maybe for those that are gone and have passed, they would have been there if they could be. We are standing for all of these people and for you. I know they will stand for us when we can't attend. Those that have stood before and weren't there today or any day didn't change their mind about peace, they just simply, for one reason or another, didn't come this day.
Peace to All.