Veterans for Peace Memorial Day Observance James Madison Park

May 27, 2019 1:00 PM | Gates of Heaven [Shaarei Shamayim] 302 E. Gorham St., Madison, Wisconsin 53703

Gates of Heaven Reconstructionist congregation


Finding peace and comfort in uncertain times will be a theme as members of Madison area Veterans For Peace host a peace rally the afternoon of May 27, and a week-long installation of the Memorial Mile along Atwood Avenue May 25-June 1.



Main speaker at the peace rally – beginning at 1 p.m. Monday, Memorial Day May 27, at the Gates of Heaven building in James Madison Park – will be State Representative Melissa Sargent, 48th Assembly District.

The Memorial Mile is a powerful graphic display of more than 6,000 simulated grave markers, which members of Veterans for Peace and other volunteers will install along Atwood Avenue at Olbrich Park. The Memorial Mile brings attention to U.S. deaths in ongoing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. Motorists and pedestrians are welcome to view and discuss the display for the week it is in place along the busy east side street.

Also at the peace rally, Class of 2019 students from Madison and Southwestern Wisconsin high schools will be honored for their winning essays on topics about peace and nonviolence. Some scholarship winners this year wrote about refreshing new attitudes about working for peace, and the consequences of videos, television and electronic media.

David Couper

Priest, poet and former Madison police chief David Couper will address the peace rally. Music will be provided by the band Old Cool. Audio equipment and assistance will be provided by Norman Stockwell, publisher of The Progressive magazine.

Bagpipe music by Sean Michael Dargan will end the rally as audience members place red carnations at the nearby memorial marker for volunteer members of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. The late Clarence Kailin, a founding member of Chapter 25 Veterans For Peace, was a Lincoln Brigade veteran of the Spanish Civil War. Chapter 25 founding member and Vietnam War veteran David Giffey will emcee the program.

Melissa Sargent

Rep. Sargent’s speech is titled “Stronger Together.” Among her subjects will be the importance of strong labor, peace, government, citizens’ rights and immigrant communities.

She was born and raised in Madison, and graduated from East High School and UW-Madison. First elected to the legislature in 2012, Rep. Sargent is in her third term representing the East and North sides of Madison and the village of Maple Bluff.



Rep. Sargent is a strong progressive voice in the Wisconsin Assembly, working to raise the minimum wage, provide equitable access to menstrual hygiene products, legalize marijuana, empower survivors of sexual assault, protect privacy rights, and other important issues.

Educational literature will be available from Veterans For Peace at the Memorial Mile site, and the peace rally at James Madison Park on May 27. Free will donations will be accepted during both Madison events.

Monday Noon Vigil: Mothers Day, the Original Proclamation

VIGIL FOR PEACE Monday’s Noon-1pm – Week 1627, Date: 5.06.2019

The group meets in downtown Madison from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm on the corner, by the County-City building: The corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Doty Street.

There are signs and flyers available each week. The flyers to be handed out to passers-by.
All are welcome to join this group, which meets every Monday noon, except Federal holidays – (or if the temperature sinks below -20 degrees… and even then, some members enjoy standing for peace.) Link to the Vigil Facebook Page, give them a like

The Original Mother’s Day Proclamation

author: Julia Ward Howe

Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or of tears! Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.

“Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says, “Disarm, disarm! The sword is not the balance of justice.” Blood does not wipe out dishonor nor violence indicate possession.

As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each learning after his own time, the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.

While countries around the world celebrate their own Mother’s Day at different times throughout the year, several countries, including the United States, Italy, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, and Turkey celebrate it on the second Sunday of May.

Arise, all women who have hearts!

In the United States, the origins of the official holiday go back to 1870, when Julia Ward Howe

Julia Ward Howe

(1819-1910) – an abolitionist best remembered as the poet who wrote “Battle Hymn of the Republic” – worked to establish a Mother’s Peace Day. Howe dedicated the celebration to the eradication of war, and organized festivities in Boston for years. In 1907, Anna Jarvis, of Philadelphia, began the campaign to have Mother’s Day officially recognized, and in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson did this, proclaiming it a national holiday and a “public expression of our love and reverence for all mothers.”

Mother’s Day Peace Pole Celebration

First Unitarian Society
900 University Bay Dr.
Sunday, May 12th

Come decorate peace poles any time before 12:30 pm, at which time we will share fellowship, songs, & words for Peace
“May Peace Prevail on Earth”

Mother’s Day is a world-wide event of pagan origins. In the United States, this day was linked to the concept of peace by Anna Jarvis in 1908 in memory of her mother, a well-known activist who started Mother’s Day work clubs to support soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War. After a checkered start in individual states and commercialization that Anna Jarvis grew to resent, in 1914 Woodrow Wilson declared the 2nd Sunday in May an official holiday to honor mothers. It’s link with peace became lost.

The “Peace Pole Project” has been an official Project of The World Peace Prayer Society since 1955. As a response to the bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Masahisa Goi from Japan dedicated his life to spreading the message, “May Peace Prevail on Earth”. White Peace Poles with this phrase etched on them were created in many different languages, handcrafted, sold and erected the world over as international symbols of peace.

In 2012 the Social Justice Committee of the First Unitarian Society started installing decorated posts, flanked by two white Peace Poles. Seven of the eight languages on both posts were provided by the scholars of Shorewood Elementary School. The eighth was provided by members of the Ho-Chunk community to help us acknowledge that we are situated on Ho-Chunk land. The Ho-Chunk words are said to be an equivalent phrase, as there is no direct translation for “May Peace Prevail on Earth.” in Ho-Chunk.

These posts have been installed and decorated annually on Mother’s Day ever since. They remain up for approximately one month. Any empty posts can be adopted by anyone moved to decorate them at any time while they are in place and the undone posts serve as a reminder that there is always more work to be done. First Unitarian Society is proud to co-sponsor this event with the following organizations this year: Wisconsin Network for Peace Justice and Sustainability and the Downtown Vigil for Peace.

Grant Us Peace.


Vigil for Peace – Honor the Earth

VIGIL FOR PEACE Mondays Noon-1pm Madison Municipal Bldg.–Week 1626, 4-29-19

Monday Noon Vigil (since December 1981)

Last Monday, April 22nd was Earth Day, the 49th Earth Day since it was first observed on April 22, 1970. The theme of Earth Day 2019 is to protect and save all species.


Earth Day was founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin who proposed a national teach-in on the environment after witnessing the aftermath of a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California in September of 1969. On April 20, 1970, twenty million people across the United States held protests and gathered in public areas to talk about the environment and find ways to defend the planet. They wanted to send a strong message to Washington that public opinion was behind a bold political agenda on environmental problems. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.

In 1970 and the years following, an active government supported environmental protection through agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA was tasked with protecting human health and the environment through its laws and regulations. The Clean Air and Water Act was enacted in 1972 and became the primary federal law governing water pollution in the U.S.

Earth Day continued to grow over the years. In 1990 it went global and 200 million people in 141 countries participated in the event.

Another strand of the origins of Earth Day is that it was inspired by a single photograph, known as ‘Earthrise’ which was taken by the crew of Apollo 8 on Christmas Eve, 1968. It showed the earth, shadowed by the moon, floating out in deep space and was the first time anyone saw the earth from that perspective. Sixteen months later, on April 22, 1970, Earth Day was born. The twenty million people who came out onto the streets across American created an event that to this day remains the largest civic event in human history. (Jeff Goddell, Rolling Stone, April 22, 2019)


As powerful as this photo is, Jeff Goddell says, it is a poor symbol for Earth Day and sends the wrong message for the challenges that we humans face on the planet today.

There is no human presence in the photo and the point of Earth Day should be how we are impacting the earth. What is the human relationship with earth and how are we managing it? Also, the photo gives the impression that the earth is a fragile place. But in its 4.5 billion year history, earth has been through wild extremes of heat and cold, fire and ice.

“What is fragile is not the earth itself but life on earth. Particularly, human civilization has arisen during a remarkably mild, temperate interval in the earth’s climate.” We are changing that climate. Somewhere between 37-40 billion tons of carbon are dumped into the atmosphere every year, pushing the climate system into instability. According to Jeff
Goodell, “At this moment on earth, we are in a fight for our lives, and the lives of future generations… The science is clear. We have the technology we need. What we don’t have is the political leadership.”


On Earth Day, April 22, 2016, the Paris Agreement was signed by 120 countries, including the United States and China. This signing satisfied a key requirement for entry into force of the historic draft climate protection treaty adopted by consensus of 195 nations present at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. However, in June of 2017 President Trump delivered an official notice to the U.N that the U.S. intends to withdraw from the Paris Agreement as soon as it is legally eligible to do so. Because of the way the treaty was written, the earliest possible withdrawal date is Nov. 4th, 2019. (Wikipedia)

What is the Paris Agreement

On April 22 this year, 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist, Greta Thunberg, spoke at a public event in London calling for a general strike to ensure that politicians keep their promises under the Paris agreement. Her talk followed a week of protests by Extinction Revolution activists which pushed the climate crisis onto news broadcasts and newspaper front pages. “It’s an existential crisis.” Thunberg said. “It is something that will affect the future of our civilization. It’s not just a movement. It’s a crisis and we must take action accordingly.” (The Guardian 4/23/20019)

Greta TedTalk The Disarming Case to Act Right Now on Climate Change

Extinction Rebellion


In the concluding chapter of Dahr Jamail’s new book, The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption he says: “For decades many of us have turned a blind eye to what is happening to the planet. But now, given that the Earth may be dying, we may be ready to stand up and protect what we love.”

“No one knows if the biosphere will completely collapse. Our future is uncertain. Given the fact that a rapid increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere coincided with previous mass extinctions and that we could well be facing our own extinction, we should be asking ourselves, ‘How shall I use this precious time?’ Each of us must find our own honest natural response to the conditions we have brought upon ourselves.”

Dahr Jamail quotes several Indigenous elders speaking to college students. When asked “What can we do?” one Lakota leader and elder said “Think about it. That’s up to you. I can’t tell you what to do. Educate yourself and then you decide.”

“Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something is worth doing no matter how it turns out.” – Vaclav Havel, Czech dissident, writer, and statesman


The Abe Lincoln Battalion: Equality on the Front Line 31st Jan 2019 Pete

It was in January 1937 when enough Americans had landed in Spain to form their own fighting unit in the army defending the elected Spanish government. Politically, these men and women came from all manner of progressive tendencies. Communists, socialists, liberals – in other contexts bitterly divided, on the sun-baked fields of 1930s Spain they stood united against fascism.

And no, the Abe Lincoln Battalion wasn’t organised by race – typical of the US socialist and communist movements of the 1930s and their total commitment to anti-racism. African-Americans were especially drawn to Spain because they saw in Franco the white supremacism they were fighting in Mississippi and Georgia. Langston Hughes put it well: “Give Franco a hood and he would be a member of the Ku Klux Klan.”

They also rightly saw behind Franco the blood-soaked figure of Benito Mussolini (tens of thousands of Fascist Italian and Nazi German soldiers were deployed to Spain), who just a couple years earlier had invaded Ethiopia – a free nation which held sacred status in Pan-African and Black Radical thought in the US.

While relatively few in number – around 85 African-Americans served in Spain – they existed as full equals in the Abraham Lincoln Battalion.

The Abe Lincoln Battalion: Equality on the Front Line 


Spanish Civil War Tea Towel

The Radical Tea Towel Story

The Radical Tea Towel Company was founded by the Pearce family in South Wales, who’ve demonstrated that it’s perfectly possible to work with members of your family and still get on!
The idea came about when Beatrice was looking for a suitable politically-themed birthday present for her late mother’s partner, David. She decided that some kind of left-wing tea towel would be ideal (given David’s radical inclinations), but somehow the internet had not yet produced such an obviously useful product.

After a discussion over dinner with husband Tim and son Luke, the family decided they’d strike out and create a bunch of radical tea towels, with the aim of encouraging left and liberal-minded people to proudly display their political and social beliefs…

Link to Radical Tea Towel Story