Tag Archives: scholarship

Memorial Day Peace Rally 2019

Veterans for Peace, veterans, friends, supporters and family all gathered at the Gates of Heaven at James Madison Park in Madison to honor the dead and rally for a peaceful tomorrow on May 27, Memorial Day, the peace rally is an annual event.

Finding peace and comfort in uncertain times was a theme that accompanied a week-long installation of the Memorial Mile along Atwood Avenue on the shores of Lake Monona. The Mile gives remembrance to the deaths of over 7.000 military members who have died in ongoing military actions around the world.

“The traditional Memorial Day programs have, we feel, a very militaristic flavor, and our program is really a peace event,” according to Veteran for Peace, David Giffey, who acted as emcee.  The Veterans for Peace rally is, in part, focused on communicating the great costs of war.

 

The event began as the band, Old Cool, led by singer Sandy Nowak along with Dan Hildebrand and Arvid Berge sang to remember the military members and other victims of war and to hope for a better future.

 

 

 

The Class of 2019 students from area high schools were recognized for their winning essays on topics about peace and nonviolence.  Veterans for Peace-Madison received 30 essays this year.

Ashley Cornwell, from Baraboo, read from her essay dealing with conflict resolution through diplomacy. We can do much more to communicate better and in working to understand how others feel and what they think.

Priest, poet and former Madison police chief David Couper addressed the peace rally. Couper spoke during the peace rally about his path to nonviolence and read his poetry, including a poem about what it means to be a patriot.

 

 

Our goal is to abolish war, said David Giffey, we can be advocates for peace and be patriotic.  The cost in lives, the cost of displacement of human beings and the opportunity costs are all  immense and avoidable.

 

 

Giffey read the names of Veterans for Peace who have passed away 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.  Since Memorial Day, we have also lost Bob Kimbrough, Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and veteran of the Korean War.


Melissa Sargent, a state representative from the local Madison area; spoke on peace, government, the civil rights of citizens and immigrant communities.

Give a listen: Audio of Melissa Sargent’s May 27 speech, courtesy of WORT FM and Gil Halsted.

Sargent honored the dead while reflecting on the moral injustices of war. The effect of violence and war on the military members cascades down to spouses and family members, and the impact continues long after the immediate conflicts are ended.

Melissa Sargent:  “This Memorial Day, it was my pleasure to speak at and to be a part of the Veterans for Peace rally. While we were honoring those who have sacrificed their lives for our country, we also recognized the moral injustices of war and that the cost of war encompasses more than the loss of those killed. With lost loved ones, post-traumatic stress disorder, civilians who are impacted and injuries that continue after wars are over, too many people have had their lives torn apart by war.

While we cannot bring back those whose lives have been lost, we can continue to strive for peace in the future. We must lift one another up, and take small steps towards peace each and every day. I know that when we each do better, we all do better. We are stronger together, and together we can build strong and peaceful communities.”


As the attendees filed out of the synagogue, musician Sean Michael Dargan played somber tunes on his bagpipe lending to the sense of seriousness of the loss of these human beings, and we were handed carnations.

 

 

 

 

The red flowers were then placed on and near the Lincoln Brigade monument.

 

 

 

The Lincoln Brigade were volunteers who fought the fascists in Spain during the Spanish Civil War, which initially the US government was not opposed to.  At least until, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini gave fascism a bad name.

More info on the Lincoln Brigade and the Spanish Civil War

 

Photographs taken by Paul McMahon, Heartland Images. Thanks to Paul.  Thank you to Norman Stockwell, publisher of the Progressive Magazine, for all of your technical expertise and hard work.

Veterans for Peace-Madison includes veterans from a variety of conflicts around the world.  We meet every third Wednesday of the month, our meetings are open to the public.  We invite you to attend.


 

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

Chapter 25 counter-recruiting, essay contest in Six Rural Southwestern Wisconsin High Schools

VFP Counter-Recruiting display at Baraboo High School.  Photo by David Giffey.

VFP Counter-Recruiting display at Baraboo High School. Photo by David Giffey.

In early 2016, Veterans for Peace Chapter 25 members spent lunch hours counter-

recruiting in six high schools in rural Southwestern Wisconsin. This photo shows

the visual display set up at Baraboo High School in March. Also included in the

counter recruitment and essay contest sponsored by Chapter 25 are high schools:

River Valley in Spring Green, Riverdale in Muscoda, Dodgeville, Boscobel, and

Richland Center. Students receive information regarding alternatives to the military

and details about the on-going essay contest. In 2015, a total of 39 seniors at the six

rural high schools wrote essays on the topic “Why I Believe War Is Not the Answer.”

The winning essay writer in each school received a $500 scholarship from Chapter

25. The counter-recruiting and scholarship essay program in Southwestern

Wisconsin is coordinated by Chapter 25 founding member David Giffey. Member

Randy Converse assisted with counter recruiting in the rural high schools. The

scholarships will be presented to the winning students at award night ceremonies at

each of the schools before the end of the 2016 school year. For more information

about the rural high school scholarship program, email David Giffey:

barnowl1941 (at) gmail (dot) com