Thursday, October 12, 2006
Today the Thursday noon peace vigil at San Francisco's marked the beginning of its sixth year. Since the fall of 2001, once a week for an hour, a small group of determined peacemakers have stood in silent witness under the looming shadow of the Philip Burton Federal Building.
Today there was a good turnout.
It is often cold and always shaded at the Federal Building. But it was not wind-whipped today.
Signs carry many messages -- vigil participants have a smorgasbord of ills to choose from in confronting what our country has become in those five years.
Do these events do any good? I've written about this before. It seems to me that persistent reminders that all is not well matter a great deal, for their participants and also for those who encounter them. They are a statement of hope for a different country. Other efforts do more to get us there, but the vigils "keep hope alive" in a public way.
I'm not actually much good as a vigil participant myself, too antsy to stand still for long, happier when snapping pictures or even trying to engage passersby. But because I've been coordinating the volunteer distributors of the antiwar newspaper War Times/Tiempo de Guerras for the same five years, I feel very close to these activists. Literally hundreds of these vigils have waxed and waned since 9/11 in corners of just about every state. Many others are entering their sixth year, just like the one in San Francisco. I know that for certain -- many of them have asked me to ship them papers at one time or another. It has been a privilege to connect with all these faithful witnesses.