Tag Archives: David Couper

Rousing Peace Rally at Gates of Heaven During Hottest Memorial Day on Record

 By David Giffey

Alfred McCoy’s newest book concludes with five scenarios for the potential end of U.S. global hegemony. The book was McCoy’s topic as guest speaker at the annual Veterans for Peace May 28 afternoon rally at the Gates of Heaven.

McCoy’s sobering, realistic, and carefully researched presentation described historical evidence of empires built and undone. While identifying aspects of a declining “American Century” [of U.S. hegemony] as signaling an end to an American Empire, he also noted positive results of the “American Century” including formation of the United Nations and the World Health Organization, and global advances in human rights.

(Note to readers: “hegemony” may be defined as “domination” or “control.” In McCoy’s usage, “hegemony” may also be substituted for “empire” or “the American Century.”)

In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power, (Haymarket Books 2017) is McCoy’s newest book. He wrote to end the final chapter, “Now that the American Century is ending, we can only wonder what kind of shadow it will cast across the globe for future generations.” His presentation at the peace rally posed a similar question.

The American Century is described by McCoy as beginning around the time of WW II. Five scenarios detailed by the author as potentially ending the American Century by 2040 include an evolving world order, economic decline, military misadventure, World War III, and climate change. Climate change, McCoy writes, “…is on such a clear scientific trajectory that there is no need for speculation about its impact…world power would silently shift away from Washington by sheer force of geopolitics and ‘extreme weather’.”

Sharing the peace rally program was Progressive magazine publisher Norman Stockwell, who told the audience of more than 100 about his recent return trip to Vietnam and the ongoing efforts and successes of Madison Quakers Inc. (MQI) and director Mike Boehm. Micro-credit loans, compassion houses, primary schools, My Lai Peace Park, and drilling of water wells are among projects headed by Boehm and MQI over the past decades in Quang Ngai Province.

Father David Couper is an ordained Episcopal priest, author, former Madison police chief and member of Veterans for Peace. Couper spoke during the peace rally about his path to nonviolence, and ended his invocation with a poem.

During the program, seniors from six area high schools were honored as winners of 2018 cash scholarships in the Chapter 25 essay contest. Since the program began 11 years ago, close to 200 student essays have been submitted by scholarship applicants from high schools in Madison, Spring Green, Dodgeville, Muscoda, Richland Center, Baraboo and Boscobel. Student essays are written on topics of peace and nonviolence. Attending the peace rally and introduced by VFP member Paul McMahon was the 2018 winner from West High School, Diana Nava. She was accompanied by her mother, Julia, younger brother, Alex, and a friend. Scholarship recipients from other schools in 2018 are: Lily Scallon, Boscobel High School; Nichole Erdman, Dodgeville; Miles Statz, Baraboo; Garrett Prem, River Valley; and Cole Darling, Richland Center.

Diana Nava, 2018 Madison High Schools scholarship winner, and her family.  Photo by Tom Glassel.

Members of Veterans for Peace who have died were named and remembered fondly, including: Clarence Kailin, Joey Camarrano, Jim Ellsworth, Sidney Podell, Dr. James Allen, Jeff Goldstein, Charles Sweet, Dr. Eugene Farley, Joel Gaalswyk, John Oliger, and Ed Garvey.

The rally began with a stirring set of music by the band Old Cool. Band members are Dan Hildebrand, Sandy Nowak, Arvid Berge and Lee Grady. Ending the event was Sean Michael Dargan’s bagpipe music while attendees placed red carnations at the nearby monument to Wisconsin Lincoln Brigade volunteers fighting Fascists in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War. Clarence Kailin, namesake of Chapter 25 Veterans for Peace, was a member of the Lincoln Brigade. His name is listed on the marker. Clarence died in 2009 at age 93.

Attendees place carnations on the Abraham Lincoln Brigade monument in James Madison Park. Photo by Tom Glassel.

Al McCoy wrote of the May 28 Veterans for Peace Rally:

“Although I speak regularly at diverse locations in America, Asia, and Europe, I found myself unexpectedly moved by the esprit of the Veterans for Peace event that makes Madison such a special community. The pride of the student essay awardee, the eloquence of Rev. David Couper’s recollections of witnessing nuclear tests in the Pacific back in the 1950s, and Norm Stockwell’s description of contemporary peace-building at My Lai all came together to make the quest for peace seem not a Quixotic quest, but a matter of political necessity.”


News Coverage of Memorial Day Program

Channel 3000: Veterans for Peace host Memorial Day program at park

WKOW27: Veterans For Peace Holds Rally for Change

Peace Rally Program in Madison hosted by Veterans for Peace

Peace Rally May 25, 2015  — Download Flyer

Hosted by Veterans for Peace – Clarence Kailin Chapter 25 – Madison, Wisconsin

FClarence KailinEATURED SPEAKERS

•Everett Mitchell:  “Resisting Narratives of War”

•David Newby – U.S. Labor Against War

•David Couper –  “Keeping the Peace” Invocation

•Will Williams – Comments

 

IMG_0275VetsPlacingrosesatLincolnStoneMUSIC/POETRY

•Old Cool Band

•Spoken Word by First Wave

•Sean Michael Dargan – Bagpipe

PLUS

•Dr. James Allen Scholarships

•Remembering War Casualties

EMCEE

•David Giffey

Monday, May 25, 2015 – Memorial Day

12:45 p.m. – James Madison Park – E. Gorham Street (next to Gates of Heaven)

Special Thanks:  WORT-FM Radio, Norman Stockwell, Steve Ringwood, George’s Flowers

Veterans For Peace, Clarence Kailin Chapter 25, Madison, WI, will be setting up the “Memorial Mile” display along Atwood Avenue in Olbrich Park again this year. We very much appreciate your past participation in setting the display, and would like to ask for your assistance again for this years’ Memorial Mile Display if your Memorial Day holiday weekend would allow time for it.

The annual set-up time is scheduled for 9:00 am, Saturday, May 23. You may stop and start at any time. Hopefully, the ground will not be too dry and hard, and the installation will be accomplished in a few hours. We will have a tent set up with water, and possibly some snacks at the mid-point near the southern park entrance.

The take down time is scheduled for 1:00 pm, Saturday, May 30.

Please share this information to anyone that might be interested !

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 5, 2015

Noted speakers, music, high school scholarship awards, and poetry readings are scheduled for a Peace Rally Program beginning at 12:45 p.m. Monday, May 25, at James Madison Park, 614 E. Gorham Street. The program on Memorial Day afternoon is hosted by Veterans for Peace, Clarence Kailin Chapter 25.

In addition to the May 25 program, Veterans for Peace (VFP) will sponsor a “Memorial Mile” display of more than 6,675 simulated grave markers to acknowledge U.S. deaths in the ongoing Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The Memorial Mile display, May 23 to May 30, will be located along Atwood Avenue east of Olbrich Botanical Gardens.

Peace rally speakers May 25 at James Madison Park will include:

  • Everett Mitchell, social justice advocate, attorney, activist, and pastor, speaking on “Resisting the Narratives of War.”
  • David Newby, president emeritus of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, discussing efforts by U.S. Labor Against War (USLAW).
  • David Couper, priest and former police chief – “Keeping the Peace” invocation.
  • Will Williams, veteran and activist, with closing remarks.

Warm-up music will be provided by the band Old Cool. A spoken word performance by UW-Madison’s First Wave is scheduled, as well as a poetry reading by Veterans for Peace member Daryl Sherman. Sean Michael Dargan will play a bagpipe tribute to end the program while names of war casualties are read. Audience members will be invited to place red carnations at the nearby Abraham Lincoln Brigade marker. Chapter 25 namesake and founding member, the late Clarence Kailin, was a volunteer fighting fascism with the International Brigade in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War. Program emcee is Chapter 25 member and Vietnam War veteran David Giffey.

During the May 25 program, graduates from area high schools will be honored for their participation in the annual Veterans for Peace essay and scholarship competition named after the late VFP member Dr. James Allen. This year, 40 students at seven high schools from Madison to Baraboo to Boscobel wrote essays on the topic “Why I Believe War Is Not the Answer.” More than $4,000 in scholarships have been awarded annually by Chapter 25 since 2007. Veterans for Peace is a non-profit organization. All funds are raised through donations and small grants. The program is free and open to the public. Good will donations will be accepted during the program and at the Memorial Mile site.

Chapter 25 member Steve Books will offer Veterans for Peace educational information. Audio assistance provided by Norm Stockwell and Steve Ringwood, WORT-FM Radio.

(Media: For more information contact David Giffey, 608-753-2199 or email barnowl1941@gmail.com. Interviews with participants available.)