These photos are from the events this weekend marking the 5th anniversary of the start of the war and occupation of Iraq.
On Saturday, despite the bitter cold wind, over 50 people demonstrated at the intersection of NW Expressway and Meridian. We listened to two Gold Star Fathers and to retired military doctor Kathy Schierman (sp?). We also enjoyed some pizza, which really helped morale in the chill. Before our action was over, the sun peeked out a bit and warmed things up. As usual for this type of event, the response of passers-by was very positive, with honks, thumbs up, waves and cheers.
On Sunday, I joined the Oklahoma City religious community for their Spiritual Walk for Peace. Over 100 peacemakers participated in this, on what turned into a beautiful day, a marked contrast to Saturday's windy experience. We started at Centennial Park, where we listened to some music and speakers. Moses Mast read a letter from CO Jake Malloy (I'll paste that in below when I get a copy), and heard from James M. Branum of the Oklahoma GI Rights Hotline about the Winter Soldier Hearings going on in Washington, D.C. Representatives of local churches spoke about their faith's call to peace and justice, and how this relates to Iraq.
The walk itself through downtown Oklahoma City was completely silent. While the city streets were mostly empty, as we circled the Oklahoma City Memorial, there were quite a few people, many probably tourists, who watched as we quietly passed with our banners and signs. This part of these walks always moves me, drawing such a clear parallel between the senseless terrorism of the bombing of the Murrah Building and the equality senseless terrorism that is war, particularly a war of such that in Iraq, started with lies and sustained by callous irrationality, where we not only cause undue suffering, but lose our own values in the process.
At both events, signatures were gathered that will be passed on to elected officials in yet another attempt to register protest and seek a change in policy.
On Wednesday, March 19, the actual day of the 5 year anniversary, the final event in this series will take place: a rally on the steps of the state Capital. If I make it to this, I'll add the photos to the album.
If you prefer to see the photos in album form instead of slideshow, go to http://picasaweb.google.com/peacearena/5YearsTooMany.