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The Value of a Weekly Peace Vigil - nhpeacenik
The Value of a Weekly Peace Vigil
The discipline of maintaining a weekly vigil for peace on the steps of the Peterborough town house helps me pay attention to the many ways the war-making mentality affects our consciousness and our decisions every day. No matter what the weather, no matter what preoccupations have dominated my thoughts and emotions during the week, on Saturday it's time to remember to become, for one hour, a visible reminder that, in a world of hierarchies and strife, there is a peaceful way to live, if we keep insisting on it.

At election time, when people pass us on the street and glance at our peace-signs, they may well think we're there for one of the candidates, and yes, I'm personally passionate for and against some of the candidates, but that's not what we're there for. I grieve for the damage the proposed NED pipeline will do to our community, but that's not what we're there for either. The current hot war, or the current spate of hate speech may come to people's minds as they pass by, but if they ask, we just remind them we are standing here for "peace, not war", as a reminder that peaceful solutions are possible, a fact that is not widely advertised.

When we get together, we speak of our own personal concerns about the way our lives and those of our neighbors are playing out. We also feel compelled to discuss some of the horrific violence that consumes the attention of the media each week and to understand the political connections between those things, our national politics, and our way of life. We started the vigil to show support for non-military responses to the tragedy of 9-11-2001. We wanted to honor the longstanding traditions of nonviolence and diplomacy, which have slowly brought about many changes in society that everybody now recognizes as beneficial, though they now seem unremarkable, unless we take time to ponder how they happened. We marvel at the fact that our human race is still here after all the threats it has faced and all the threats to the natural world it has posed. We speak of the wisdom embodied in the religious, spiritual and philosophical traditions and of the twisted ways these have sometimes been used to support domination and violence.

There are those, such as New Hampshire's own Doris "Granny D" Haddock, who walked across the country in her 90th year for campaign finance reform, and Concepcion Picciotto, ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concepcion_Picciotto ) who organized and led a 24-hour-a-day peace vigil outside the White House for 30 years, right up to her death yesterday. They go much farther with their leadings to stand as a witnesses for a better way to live. Still, those of us who devote an hour to the same tasks on a regular basis are buoyed up by it, and I think we also make a difference in other lives by doing it in public.

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Current Location: Greenville, NH, USA
Current Music: Charlie King, If You Want Peace

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