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 My Story: Peace Group Attacked, 80 y.o. Assaulted

Vermontby Sherlyn Meinz

Springfield, VT I arrived this morning at our usual time and place in downtown Springfield - the corner near the movie theater. We have been standing out for well over a decade, protesting war, asking for peace, and last year joyfully adding 99% signs. I honked as usual, as I approached, though something looked strange. There was a truck pulled over blocking the corner, and Norman, 65, was picking up our signs out of the road. There was a large man looming over 80 y.o. Jane looking angry. As I got out of my car, in the parking lot behind where we stand, tying on my "peace apron"... I realized there was trouble.

The large burly stranger was yelling at Jane, her ankle was bleeding and leg scraped. Norman was angry, and rapidly getting angrier, saying the man had just knocked Jane to the ground. I approached them, asking loudly what was going on. Jane was trying to placate the man, who was mumbling "It ain't right, it just ain't right". I replied "No, throwing an 80 year old woman to the ground, is certainly not all right. What the hell is the matter with you?" I told him that he'd better leave because I was calling the police. Naturally I'd forgotten my cell phone (rather a lot going on of late.) ...

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Jane claims to weigh 100 lbs, (but I seriously doubt it) She is more than a few inches shorter than my 5'7". Her attacker was huge. But I guess bullying two old people was enough for him, and he got back in his truck, his wife looking shell-shocked, and drove off. Norman had written down his license plate number and told me that the man had also threatened to return and remove us all from "his street". Jane then tells me he didn't actually throw her to the ground, only tried to rip the "Honk for Peace" sign out of her hands to add to those in the street. He'd knocked her to the ground in trying to take it from her, but she had held on. :-)

I walked across the street to the SEVCA store, who kindly let me borrow a phone to call the police and offered their support. By the time the police officer arrived they had traced the license number, and were apparently quite familiar with this man. Jane did not want to press charges, so the police officer promised to go talk to him.

Over the years, we've had many people swear and scream at us, give the finger, block their eyes like blinders, tell us to get a job, drive by over and over yelling and swerving at us as if to hit us, get out of their vehicles to yell, even set firecrackers off behind us. But I think today was the worst. And yet, by far, the negatives are incredibly out-weighed by the positives - the honks, waves, peace signs, words of thanks, smiles, thumbs up, etc. Each year we have stood, the positive responses have increased as people became more aware. At 59 I am the spring chicken of the group, there are usually only three to five of us diehards, standing out, though others join Jane in counter-recruiting at the schools and similar activities...

For those who do not know us, we stand for the soldiers and vets too, maybe mostly for them. A couple of our members are vets. This country's soldiers and vets are our fathers, our brothers and sisters, our children, our neighbors and friends. We want them home safe and sound (mentally and physically). We stand against them being horribly used and abused in wars of empire to enrich the already rich warmongers, bomb makers and bought politicians.

More people would help alot! Any in the area are more than welcome to join us, any Saturday morning from 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. on the corner near the movie theatre in Springfield, Vermont, across from the Marine Recruiting Center. Bring your own signs, or use ours. If you live elsewhere, I am sure there are groups near you who'd love your company in Standing up for our country and what is truly important.


Sherlyn Meinz lives in Springfield, Vermont and has been standing for peace for many years. She is the editor of the website, http://www.alienlove.com


[26 May 2012]

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