Thursday, October 12, 2006

Peace vigil enters sixth year

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.


Civic Center said...

Thank you so much for showing up, Jan, and also for taking the photos. I'm a terrible, antsy "vigiler" myself, so I fully understand. Thanks also for the Padilla piece further up. You're right, I haven't actually read the details anywhere else, and they need to be disseminated as widely as possible.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for coming, Jan, and thanks for your good coverage. I want your readers to know that everybody's welcome to take part in the vigil. We're there at the corner of Larkin Street and Golden Gate Avenue every Thursday from noon to 1:00 - and it's fine to come for just part of the vigil if you need to get back to work or whatever.