Town Square

More than 100 gather for peace vigil

Original post made on Mar 20, 2008

About 100 people gathered at the Museum On Main Street downtown Wednesday night on the fifth anniversary of the War in Iraq for a vigil.

Organized by Pleasantonians for Peace and hosted in part by Pleasanton City Councilman Matt Sullivan and veteran and longtime peace activist Fred Norman, the event was held to reflect on the human and monetary costs of the war and honor veterans.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, March 20, 2008, 2:21 PM


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Posted by AL
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Mar 20, 2008 at 7:46 pm

That poor bunch of senior citizens with nothing better to do...

The best part is the guy reading off all of the things the U.S. could have spent money on instead of the war. All of the things he listed off are things that people, not the government, should pay for themselves.

These poor souls do not understand, that their ability to hold "vigils" like this is a direct result of the people who fight for our freedom. It is sad to see these cowards lining Main Street. It is disrespectful to our courageous troops that fight for us every day.

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Posted by Kathy
a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 20, 2008 at 10:13 pm

"the guy reading off all of the things the U.S. could have spent money on instead of the war" was reading the comments of the mother of an Iraq War veteran. I attended this vigil, am neither a senior citizen nor someone with nothing else to do. To that point, however, who better than our "senior citizens" who have lived through many wars - some of them military veterans - to understand the full impact of a war. Please note: There were people of all ages at the vigil - as evidenced by one of the photos on this web page.

The purpose of the vigil was to honor those who have served and given their lives in Iraq. This was done with the utmost of respect and appreciation for our courageous troops. A coward would not exercise the freedoms that have made this country great - including the freedom to assemble peacefully and the freedom of speech- for fear of a possible negative reaction. These are the facts surrounding last night's Peace Vigil.

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Posted by Shelley
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 20, 2008 at 11:34 pm

AL, I'll be sure to show my Iraq war veteran friend your comment. I'm curious to know his thoughts on it. Have you ever thought that the soldiers there would think it respectful and a sign that we car about what's going on half way across the world by holding vigils for their fallen comrades?

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Posted by Protest
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 21, 2008 at 8:41 am

Since the group of Pleasanton protesters are against the war in Iraq, are they in favor of the war in Afganistan where US troops kill the citizens as they do in Iraq?

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Posted by confused again
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 21, 2008 at 9:37 am

The issue is not one side ot the other. A democracy does not mean we blindly follow our government without question. I am sure you could find veterans who agreed with this and those that don't. Doing so does not validate one side or the other, but illustrates the complexity of the issue. The people who came before us did not fight for these principles so that we would become of one mind, in fact rarely have we been of one mind when it came to foreign wars. I don't understand why this appears to be threatening to some. "We fought for these freedoms but only use them when we agree???"

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Posted by AL
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Mar 21, 2008 at 9:43 am

These people have the right to voice their opinions. At the same time, I have a right to feel they are misguided. I am wondering how many of the attendees would be willing to go sacrifice their lives on foreign soil. Just curious...
Shelley, feel free to show my comments to anyone you would like. I am sure that you will always be able to find someone who agrees with you.

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Posted by Protestor
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 21, 2008 at 11:52 am

There was neither a good war...or a bad peace!!!

Ben Franklin (September 11, 1773)

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Posted by PeaceWar
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 21, 2008 at 2:56 pm

WW2, a war we hope never to see the like of again, the cornerstone of US and world patriotism. Thus marking those who oppose subsequent wars clearly unpatriotic. How could you not agree to support as our children are putting their lives on the line for freedom? The selective wars of freedom are not voted on by our children. Nor are most evolved truly voluntary. Add to that the naïve emotional attachment to military life we all grow up with. Many find after joining the realities did not meet the romantic view held prior to enrollment. Like cigarettes companies, the military should be required to show the realities of war. Even drug companies are required to list all possible side effects. Rather we hear from our taxed paid advertisements, “He can out run me” as the concerned parent gives his implied approval in our newest Army commercial. Rather it might say, grandchildren may not be in our future but it is his decision. How many of us understood the real meaning of war prior to action. We must get it right, risk the future of this nation only when absolute necessary and be clear telling our children we would not risk your lives unless it was a last resort, truly a last resort for peace.

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Posted by Shelley
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 21, 2008 at 4:49 pm

Well said, PeaceWar. I know my friend became disenchanted with army life once he was in it. I'm sure most veterans coming back from the war are disenchanted with the army and feel sort of lost in our world. A world where we go about our daily business, spending, shopping, and having fun as usual, business as normal, without worrying that the bicycle parked in front of Safeway, an unusual place for it since most people wastefully drive everywhere, could be an IED.
It's rather disappointing that people would yell out "Go back to Berkeley!" to a peace vigil or call those who attend it a coward. One can say, well, they're cowards because they take advantage of their inalienable right to free speech and don't put their life on the line to defend our country. I can't understand this point of view. I mean, it's not like all the soldiers in the army were bloodthirsty and just couldn't wait to shoot at some terrorists. I really doubt that the army likes going to war. There were others ways things could had been handled back in 2003 that would not have required the army to mobilize to half way across the world. It's like my friend says, "He signed up for the National Guard after 9/11 to defend the nation, they just didn't tell him which nation."

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Posted by Matt
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 21, 2008 at 5:17 pm

"So long as there are men there will be wars." -Albert Einstein

Conflict is the reality of the human existance. We have an army because if we are to be considered a nation ruled by popular consent the government must provide for the common defense as stipulated by the Constitution.

So when we send our troops, our citizen volunteer soldiers, into harm's way in great expense of blood and treasure, it had best be in the national interest. If it's not, then we as citizens have a legal right and a moral responsibility to seek redress from the government. We, as Americans, never abandon the domestic right to make our voices heard.

You can support the troops without supporting the war. This nation has grown up since Viet-Nam and the days of spitting on the troops.

War is not good. I served in Iraq. If people want to have a vigil about how war is not good. That's fine by me. That war has a cost is a point that many people here in Pleasanton seem to find unpleasant.

"History teaches that war begins when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap." -Ronald Regan

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 21, 2008 at 9:17 pm

Poor Al...poor poor Al. Al, are you a Nazi? Or, are you just retarded?



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Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Mar 22, 2008 at 1:36 am

I wasn't there but I've watched the video and viewed the photos posted in the lead story and have a question. How can someone state this vigil was held to "honor those who have served and given their lives in Iraq" when not one sign shown in the video or photos mentioned anything about honoring "our courageous troops". The only signs shown in the video or photos were those addressing President Bush.

I totally agree those citizens had a "right" to assemble and hold their "vigil". I only hope this 'vigil'" wasn't actually a "Blast Bush" rally held under the pretense of honoring our military men and women who have served or made "the ultimate sacrafice" in Iraq. After reading the "hosted in part by" I have doubts.

With full knowledge of what may have been required of me, I voluntarily served in harms way to protect citizens rights to hold their "vigil", or whatever it may have be, and I wouldn't hesitate to serve again if it became necessary.

With respect to the comment made by an earlier poster - "A coward would not exercise the freedoms that have made this country great for fear of a negative reaction". IMO, that is precisely what a coward would do - freely exercise those freedoms that were won with blood and constantly complain, all the while hiding behind those that protect those freedoms. There's also no longer a "negative reaction" to cowardice in this country. That vanished in the 60's - 70's.

I wonder how many "Gold Star Moms" and "Blue Star Moms" attended this "vigil".

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Posted by Intereting!
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 22, 2008 at 8:29 am

Speaking of those who served and those who didn't.

this is an eye-opener

* Richard Gephardt: Air National Guard, 1965-71.
* David Bonior: Staff Sgt., Air Force 1968-72.
* Tom Daschle: 1st Lt., Air Force SAC 1969-72.
* Al Gore: enlisted Aug. 1969; sent to Vietnam Jan. 1971 as an army journalist in 20th
Engineer Brigade.
* Bob Kerrey: Lt. j.g. Navy 1966-69; Medal of Honor, Vietnam.
* Daniel Inouye: Army 1943-47; Medal of Honor, WWII.
* John Kerry: Lt., Navy 1966-70; Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V, Purple Hearts.
* Charles Rangel: Staff Sgt., Army 1948-52; Bronze Star, Korea.
* Max Cleland: Captain, Army 1965-68; Silver Star & Bronze Star,&nbs! ;Vietnam. Paraplegic from war injuries. Served in Congress.
* Ted Kennedy: Army, 1951-53.
* Tom Harkin: Lt., Navy, 1962-67; Naval Reserve, 1968-74.
* Jack Reed: Army Ranger, 1971-1979; Captain, Army Reserve 1979-91.
* Fritz Hollings: Army officer in WWII; Bronze Star and seven campaign ribbons.
* Leonard Boswell: Lt. Col., Army 1956-76; Vietnam, DFCs, Bronze Stars, and Soldier's Medal.
* Pete Peterson: Air Force Captain, POW. Purple Heart, Silver Star and Legion of Merit.
* Mike Thompson: Staff sergeant, 173rd Airborne, Purple Heart.
* Bill McBride: Candidate for Fla. Governor. Marine in Vietnam; Bronze Star with Combat V.
* Gray Davis: Army Captain in Vietnam, Bronze Star.
* Pete Stark: Air Force 1955-57
* Chuck Robb: Vietnam
* Howell Heflin: Silver Star
* George McGovern: Silver Star & DFC during WWII.
* Bill Clin! ton: Did not serve. Student deferments. Entered draft but receive d #311.
* Jimmy Carter: Seven years in the Navy.
* Walter Mondale: Army 1951-1953
* John Glenn: WWII and Korea; six DFCs and AirMedal with 18 Clusters.
* Tom Lantos: Served in Hungarian underground in WWII. Saved by Raoul Wallenberg.

Republicans -- and these are the guys sending people to war:
* Dick Cheney: did not serve. Several deferments, the last by marriage.
* Dennis Hastert: did not serve.
* Tom Delay: did not serve.
* Roy Blunt: did not serve.
* Bill Frist: did not serve.
* Mitch McConnell: did not serve.
* Rick Santorum: did not serve.
* Trent Lott: did not serve.
* John Ashcroft: did not serve. Seven deferments to teach business.
* Jeb Bush: did not serve.
* Karl Rove: did not serve.
* Saxby Chambliss: did not serve. "Bad knee." The man who attacked Max Cleland's patriotism.
* Paul Wolfow! itz: did not serve.
* Vin Weber: did not serve.
* Richard Perle: did not serve.
* Douglas Feith: did not serve.
* Eliot Abrams: did not serve.
* Richard Shelby: did not serve.
* Jon! Kyl: did not serve.
* Tim Hutchison: did not serve.
* Christopher Cox: did not serve.
* Newt Gingrich: did not serve.
* Don Rumsfeld: served in Navy (1954-57) as flight instructor.
* George W. Bush: failed to complete his six-year National Guard; got assigned to Alabama so he could campaign for family friend running for U.S. Senate; failed to show up for required medical exam, disappeared from duty.
* Ronald Reagan: due to poor eyesight, served in a non- combat role making movies.
* B-1 Bob Dornan: Consciously enlisted after fighting was over in Korea.
* Phil Gramm: did not serve.
* John McCain: Vietnam POW, Silver Star, Bronze Star! , Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross. * Dana Rohrabacher: did not serve.
* John M. McHugh: did not serve.
* JC Watts: did not serve.
* Jack Kemp: did not serve. "Knee problem, " although continued in NFL for 8 years as quarterback.
* Dan Quayle: Journalism unit of the Indiana National Guard.
* Rudy Giuliani: did not serve.
* George Pataki: did not serve.
* Spencer Abraham: did not serve.
* John Engler: did not serve.
* Lindsey Graham: National Guard lawyer.
* Arnold Schwarzenegger: AWOL from Austrian army base.

Pundits & Preachers
* Sean Hannity: did not serve.
* Rush Limbaugh: did not serve (4-F with a 'pilonidal cyst.')
* Bill O'Reilly: did not serve.
* Michael Savage: did not serve.
* George Will: did not serve.
* Chris Matthews: did not serve.
* Paul Gigot: did not serve.
* Bill Bennett: did not serve.
* P! at Buchanan: did not serve.
* John Wayne: did not serve.
* Bill Kristol: did not serve.
* Kenneth Starr: did not serve.
* Antonin Scalia: did not serve.
* Clarence Thomas: did not serve.
* Ralph Reed: did not serve.
* Michael Medved: did not serve.
* Charlie Daniels: did not serve.
* Ted Nugent: did not serve. (He only shoots at things that don't shoot back.)

Please keep this information circulating --Illinois State Sen. Howard W. Carroll

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Posted by Question??
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 22, 2008 at 12:41 pm

Which of our own City Council Members have served in any war?

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Posted by interested!
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 22, 2008 at 2:59 pm

One point is that serving or not serving does not entitle you to an opinion that outweighs the other.

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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 22, 2008 at 3:12 pm

I agree with you. I think though that warhawk politicians who send troops into battles without having the experience themselves is different from just having an opinion on the matter.

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Posted by Choloq
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 22, 2008 at 4:16 pm

Why is it that I am not surprised that so many politicians on the list have not served?

War is terrifying. It's hard for me to feel anger toward anybody that has never served in a combat zone. It is nothing that I would ever want for anyone. The memory of a war lives forever. You move on but the memory never goes away. War is terrifying.

Now, where is my one way ticket to Donostia? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm?

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Posted by Paulette
a resident of Val Vista
on Mar 28, 2008 at 1:56 pm

I knew the media would zero in on the anti-Bush type signs and that local antigonists would gnaw away at that when they criticized the gathering. The papers and the video clip made sure to include the "go back to Berkeley" snipe as well. More fodder.
Those who wish to march in lockstep are always looking for the "soft underbelly" rather than to look into your face and extend a hand in friendship and solidarity with their own neighbors. For those people, the media will always throws them a bone. Stir it up!
The actual reality is that this peace vigil was organized as an event to honor the soldiers as well as to show our support to an end to this war. Everyone was welcome who cared about the well being of our troops and who wish for peace. There were large scrolls displayed on the lawn area that listed all those who have died. People got into circles and were given quotes to read from mothers of soldiers who have died or who are serving in Iraq. We went around in the circle, each of us reading the next quote in the booklet. Voices rose from all the circles reading the words of these mothers. One woman talked about how she was working to have a plaque or a monument created to soldiers with PTSD - that her brother committed suicide from PTSD and she wanted to honor him with such a memorial to all those who have died or suffered from PTSD. People of all ages, from all walks of life stood there and sang songs of hope and peace in the candlelight. Most of the faces there were of people I've never seen. They didn't look like activists. They looked like the people next door.

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Posted by Paulette
a resident of Val Vista
on Mar 28, 2008 at 2:06 pm

I forgot to emphasize that there really were very few signs. I was surprised to see a photo in the newspaper that had 3 signs right next to each other. I'm guessing that the photographer bunched those people up together to get the shot. Some people showed up with signs; but, it wasn't advertised as a protest; so, there were very few signs. Most people understood this to be a peace vigil; and, it was conducted as a peace vigil. I was sort of glad to see a few signs; otherwise, how would people driving by in their cars know what we were all doing there?

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Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Mar 29, 2008 at 2:15 am

If this was truly a peace vigil why didn't someone, perhaps one of the "hosted in part by" persons, inform the sign holders about the purpose of the gathering and ask them to lower their signs since this gave some the impression that the vigil was other than a "peace vigil". Is it possible the signs on display lead the person that yelled the "Berkeley" comment to assume the vigil was just another "anti" rally targeting President Bush.

Since the date and time of this gathering was reported in the local newspapers well in advance why would the signs be necessary for people driving by to "know what we were all doing there" since they supposedly didn't represent the true purpose of the gathering.

Could never understand why someone would label others that didn't agree with their beliefs as "local antagonist" and then speak of "walking in lockstep"......

I honor our military men and women, past and present, in my own way every day and I'm fully aware of what those in harms way are enduring, I was one of them.

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Posted by A Grateful Citizen
a resident of another community
on Apr 2, 2008 at 2:36 pm

Posted by Protestor, a resident of the Another Pleasanton

"There was neither a good war...or a bad peace!!!

Ben Franklin (September 11, 1773)"

War may never be considered 'good',..... however, it certainly has, in the past, been necessary... and may continue to be forever. Not everyone out there can be convinced to love they neighbor as thyself, regardless of all the love in your heart.

God Bless all those who have served in wars and "stood up to put down" those people/countries that 'would have taken', or 'seek to take' away the freedoms we all enjoy.