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March 2003 - March 2006 - Iraq War   We Still Say "No!"

                  3rd Anniversary of Bushs War...Counting the Days...Counting the Cost

           Mourning to Resistance Not Another Death Not Another Dollar


Many thanks to all who attended - spoke, sang, did posters for stood up, vigiled, resisted, participated - in the observances of the 3rd anniversary of the Iraq War - "Mourning to Resistance: Not Another Death, Not Another Dollar ".

Throughout the Delaware Valley people gathered over the March 17 - 20 weekend, observing the 3rd anniversary of the Iraq war, in peace vigils, protests, anti-war memorials, and nonviolent resistance to the war.  More than 500 similar observances and protests took place throughout the country.  From Delaware and Chester Counties, Bucks County, South Jersey, people made their opposition to the war visible.

Sunday evening, March 19 Candelight Memorial
The Brandywine Peace Community, with the theme: "MOURNING to RESISTANCE: Not Another Death, Not Another Dollar", organized an anti-war memorial on the historic grounds of freedom's promise at the Independence Visitors Center in Philadelphia, PA, across from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.  The peace memorial was co-sponsored by:   American Friends Service Committee; Catholic Peace Fellowship, Community of the Christian Spirit; House of Grace Catholic Worker; Military Families Speak Out; Northwest Greens, Northwest Peace & Justice Movement; PRAWN; Resister Sisters; Shalom Center; SOA Watch NE; Suburban Greens; Veterans for Peace; Women's International League for Peace & Freedom - Phila. branch.

(Photos: Melissa Elliott)

Slide show of photos by Harvey Finkle - NOTE: You will need to save the Slide Show file to your Desktop. After it downloads, click on the icon and the Slide Show will start. The controls are in the upper left corner of the screen. You can advance the Slide Show by clicking on the right arrow. You can also go back by clicking on the Left arrow. When you are finished, hit the Escape key. (Not recommended for people with dial-up connections.)

PROGRAM: Independence Mall, Philadelphia, PA Candlelight Vigil with bell-intoned reading of names of war dead - U.S. and Iraqi.

* Time of Reflection and Song.

* Call to Mourning & Resistance (Bob Smith, Brandywine Peace Community)
* Paulette Meir: "Bring 'em Home" (by Pete Seeger with additional verses by Paulette Meier, Jamie Fota and Len
Webb) and during the song collection for Brandywine Peace Community's organizing expenses and the days ahead. Please
give as generously as you can! Paulette Meier is a long time singer for peace and justice and a peace educator from Cincinnati, Ohio.  She is currently an Artist in Residence at Pendle Hill for singing. She has stayed on in the area
to share songs for peacemaking written for children while working in schools as a peace educator. Her CD Join the Circle: LessonSongs for Peacemaking is available [www.lessonsongs.com].  She seeks more opportunities to do song programs for children or adults.

* Dante Zappala [Dante Zappala is a member of Military Families Speak Out. His older brother, Sherwood Baker, a PA
National Guardsman, was killed in Iraq in April  2004 becoming the first member of the PA Guard to die in combat since World War II.  Dante has been speaking and writing, in an effort to bring an end to the war which ended his brothers life.]

* Rev. Patricia Pierce. Rev. Patricia Pierce is pastor of Tabernacle Church in West Philadelphia.  On March 20, 2003, the day after the bombardment and invasion of Iraq began, Rev. Pierce was one of 107 arrested in the Brandywine Peace Community organized Iraq Pledge of Resistance shut down of the Phila. Federal Building. Rev. Pierce subsequently spent a week in jail for her act of nonviolent resistance three years ago.

* Paulette Meir: "We'll Try"  lyrics by Malvina Reynolds,  music by Paulette Meier.

* Litany of Mourning & Resistance (see below)

* Circle of Peace with Sing-along - "Circle Chant" (by Linda Hirschhorn) lead by Paulette Meir.

More than 300 people stood with candles as names of Iraqi and U.S. war dead were read to the intoning of a bell.  People heard:  Paulette Meir sing her words and the words of Malvina Reynolds and Pete Seeger with a cry of "Bring 'em Home"; Dante Zappala, of Military Families Speak Out [MFSO] speak about his work to stop the war which took the life of his brother, Sherwood Baker, who was killed in Iraq in April 2004 and was the first member of the PA National Guard to be killed in combat since World War II.  Speaking to the theme of "Mourning to Resistance",  people also heard the
insights of mind and spirit by Rev. Patricia Pierce, pastor of Tabernacle Church in West Philadelphia, who on March 20, 2003, the day after the bombardment and invasion of Iraq began, was one of 107 people arrested for the Brandywine Peace Community "Iraq Pledge of Resistance" shut down of the Phila. Federal Building.  Rev. Pierce subsequently spent a week in jail for her act of nonviolent resistance.  People partook in a "Litany of Mourning & Resistance", and formed concluding concentric circles of peace. Participants were given and most wore a multi-colored poster reading: "IRAQ: 3 Years of War  MOURNING to RESISTANCE  Not Another Death  Not Another Dollar."

Monday, March 20, Noon - Resist the War - Stop Lockheed Martin

At noon the next day, March 20,  About 20 people formed in front of Lockheed Martin in Valley Forge, PA  a "circle of mourning" again with people wearing the "Mourning to Resistance" posters and in quiet reflection gave pause and remembrance for the victims of war  and  recited the "litany of mourning & resistance".  The quiet was broken as people lifted up a voices of resistance with the sound of a wailing siren (broadcast through loud-speaker) and the pounding of
drums which lead the way to the main driveway entrance of the Valley Forge facility of the world largest weapons corporation and the Iraq war's chief profiteer, Lockheed Martin.

Once there, people immediately placed highway divider cones with "Mourning to Resistance" posters across the drive and strung yards and yards of "CRIME SCENE - DO NOT ENTER" tape as the siren wailed and the drums pounded and blocking the driveway entrance (already blocked by successive lines of police and Lockheed security behind us) we waited. After a half hour, as decided, with more crime scene eleven people attempted to approach the main doorways to the facility, were stopped, and arrested.

Those arrested were:  Rev. Patrick Sieber, OFM; Mary Jo McArthur, Carroll Clay, Bernadette Cronin-Geller; Tom Mullian, Theresa Camerota, Bob Smith, Beth Friedlan, Ann Geers, Ann Marie Nicolosi, and Vint Deming. All eleven arrested were released on disorderly conduct citations.

                        March 19 -  20, 2006
            (RESPONSE: In Mourning and  Resistance: Not
                 Another Death, Not Another Dollar)

Reader:  We gather in mourning and remembrance of the human tragedies of war these past three years. We gather in peace, with love for friends and love for those who oppose us. For peace, we gather in mourning and  nonviolent resistance to the war in Iraq and to the economy and culture of  militarism and greed in which many suffer and die here and around the world so few may profit.  And we cry out...  All: Response

Reader:  For all the war dead, U.S., Iraqi and foreign nationals, for all the wounded and maimed in body and spirit, and for all the domestic casualties of war - the homeless, hungry, those without medical care - whose needs are squandered on the economic battlefields of war and weaponry.  And we cry out...All:  Response

Reader:  For lives that continue, wounded in body and spirit, haunted forever by the pain of their loved ones absence or by the terrible memory of taking another human life.  And we cry out...All: Response

Reader:  For all the deaths justified by turning the love of God or country into fanatical arrogance, falsehoods, militarism, and empire.  And we cry out...  All:  Response       

Reader: For our brother, Tom Fox, Christian Peacemaker, and all those who risk their lives and their liberty to bring healing, forgiveness and peace.  And we cry out...   All: Response

Reader:  May we truly honor the dead in peace and heal the wounds of this war by putting peace and justice in our hearts, on our lips, and in all our actions, this day and all the days of our lives.  And we cry out...   All: Response

Reader: May our cry for peace be heard at the White House and Congress, at the Pentagon, in the corporate board rooms as we take our commitment to resist war-making to the #1 war maker, Lockheed Martin.  And we cry out...  All: Response

All: In a time of war may our mourning and resistance be the soil on which we plant the seeds of a new hope for peace and justice. With an expanding community of peacemakers, we will raise a cry of resistance to the war makers and  put an end to the violence and war that is consuming our communities, our country, our world.
At the conclusion of the Litany, we will no longer be quiet. With siren wailing and drums beating, we will raise a cry of resistance to Lockheed Martin and the war.  Those doing civil disobedience should be in the front of the walk.  The civil disobedience will commence immediately upon reaching the main driveway entrance to Lockheed Martin.  Those not planning on facing arrest must remain on the sidewalk.

From the Times Herald

Sharing 'peace' of their minds
By: KEITH PHUCAS , Times Herald Staff

UPPER MERION - Protesters beat on makeshift drums, sounded a siren and called for the end of the three-year-old Iraq conflict on Monday outside Lockheed Martin Co.'s offices. While war opponents across the country took to the streets for the anniversary of the U.S. military's ground invasion of Iraq over the weekend, the Brandywine Peace Community group regularly picket the King of Prussia company to denounce its military defense contracts. About noon on Monday, a dozen protesters gathered at the corner of Mall and Goddard boulevards and joined hands for "Circle of Mourning," a silent observance for those killed or wounded in the war.
"The war has to end, and the only way to stop the occupation is to disband all U.S. military bases in Iraq," said Bob Smith, one of the peace group's founders. Smith said the continued U.S. military presence in Iraq sparked the violent insurgency and led to sectarian strife there.
"The Bush administration's engagement in Iraq has been the source and cause of the insurgency, and (the situation) has already grown into a civil war," he said. The Christian-based anti-nuclear group, which was created more than two decades ago, made General Electric Co.'s offices in Philadelphia and King of Prussia targets of its activism in the 1980s. General Electric's former office campus is now occupied by Lockheed Martin.
"The war would not be going on without Lockheed Martin's firepower," he said, referring to the company's missile technology.
In what has become a familiar act of civil disobedience, Brandywine members marched a short distance Monday from the busy corner behind the King of Prussia mall to Lockheed's Goddard Boulevard entrance where a phalanx of Upper Merion Police officers awaited them.
Some protesters held large banners. Two activists beat out drumbeats on empty, five-gallon water containers. Four others, including 57-year-old Smith, sat down in the street at the entrance.
Eventually, the protesters were taken into custody, cited for disorderly conduct and released.
Each year at Lockheed, the group commemorates victims of the World War II bombings of Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August. In spring, the protesters hold a Good Friday observance there. In January, Martin Luther King Jr. is honored.
A Pentagon spokesman took issue with Smith's characterization of the conflict in Iraq.
"Iraq is not in a civil war ... nor is a civil war inevitable," said Lt. Col. Barry Venable.
Venable cited Feb. 22 bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra as proof the country has not descended into chaos. Though violence spiked immediately following the bombing, it quickly leveled off, he said.
"The Iraqi people are getting on with their lives, despite the many acts of provoked violence to stoke sectarian tension," Venable said.
He credited Iraqi security forces for holding down violent reprisals after the mosque was destroyed.
On Monday, President Bush gave a speech in Cleveland touting successes in Iraq that he said get overshadowed by horrific acts of violence that typically make nightly news programs.
According to the Associated Press, Bush related an in-depth story about a military campaign to rid Tal Afar, a city near the Syrian border, of terrorists who had murdered and intimidated Iraqi civilians. The terrorists were eventually killed or captured by Iraqi forces and coalition troops.
U.S. military forces had run insurgents out of Tal Afar in September 2004, but they returned after Americans troops left. This problem has been typical in Iraq.
Bush conceded that the Tal Afar success had not been replicated in all parts of the country.
"I wish I could tell you that the progress made in Tal Afar is the same in every part of Iraq. It is not," he said.