War opponents gather at city hall
Amidst the cold and windy night, a group of about 30 people lit candles, sang songs and said prayers for peace. Although the candles kept getting blown out, one elementary school- aged boy lit the candles as fast as he could to keep the flames – arranged in a peace sign – going throughout the gathering.
As protesters in San Francisco blocked streets and staged “vomit ins” on the steps of federal buildings, the small group of Truckee and North Lake Tahoe residents met in front of Truckee Town Hall, as a town council meeting presided over its usual bimonthly business.
“We thought the Truckee Town Council should know that people are against this,” said Rosemary Dixon, a Truckee resident and organizer of Tahoe Actions for Peace.
Moments of silence, songs, prayers and the passing out of “Impeach Bush” petitions were interrupted by attempts to keep the candles going while the wind blew.
“I think silence is very powerful,” said Karen Martin, a Truckee resident. She led the moment of silence, pointing out that since the war began, the public has been inundated with report after report of bombings and military advances.
“I think it’s important to realize that the U.S. is involved with Iraq, but that’s only a part of what’s happening,” said Colby Kearsis, a Truckee resident who joined the group Thursday night to voice his opinions about war in Iraq. “Every country on the planet is holding their breath watching this. There’s something about the system that has created this behavior.”
The small group stood in a circle, holding candles shielded from the wind by Styrofoam and paper cups, talking about their feelings over the last week, exchanging dialogue about the conflict and, once in a while, someone would sing a song.
During one such song, singer April Bassett’s voice was drowned out by a passing Dodge pick-up truck.
Like other Truckee gatherings, young children ran around on the front lawn of town hall – shouting and playing – while a pair of dogs chased each other and wrestled.
“I’m really sad and I’m actually worried about the world for my children,” said Danae Anderson, a Truckee resident who attended the vigil Thursday night.
After voicing support for U.S. soldiers, the group engaged in a full on media critique, citing bias in the media’s coverage of the war.
But most of all, the crowd seemed somber, still shaken by the military action that started March 19.
“I was kind of devastated, kind of dumbstruck,” said Sarah Green, explaining her initial response to news of military action in Iraq.