Tag Archives: Veterans for Peace

County Board Honors Atomic Veterans

By Paul McMahon, Chapter 25

On Thursday, July 14, 2016, the Dane County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution honoring “Atomic Veterans”. Beginning on July 16 th , 2016 and every following July 16th henceforth, Dane County honors the service of those who were victimized by the US government in the name of “safe” atomic weapons research between August 1945 through the passage of the nuclear test ban treaty in 1963 which finally out-lawed atmospheric testing.

The success of the County resolution is in no small manner due to the tireless efforts of Chapter 25 member Lincoln Grahlfs over a great number of years. The resolution was introduced and sponsored by his county supervisor Mary Kolar.

Lincoln Grahfls, Chapter 25 member and Atomic Veteran

Lincoln Grahfls, Chapter 25 member and Atomic Veteran

Chapter 25 commends Lincoln—as well as his fellow “atomic veterans”—for this significant accomplishment. We thank Mary Kolar for her sponsorship and support.

What follows is the resolution, including a summary of the historic plight of the atomic veterans. The resolution was read in full and explained by Supervisor Kolar. (Note: See accompanying photographs taken at the Capitol Lakes Retirement Center two days later, at a program presented by Lincoln.)

County Board Supervisor Mary Kolar, sponsor of 2016 RES-139, Dane County Atomic Veterans Recognition Day July 16

County Board Supervisor Mary Kolar, sponsor of 2016 RES-139, Dane County Atomic Veterans Recognition Day July 16

* * * * * * *

2016 RES-139

Dane County Atomic Veterans Recognition Day July 16

Millions have served our country through military service including in wartime. Most came home and continued to serve their communities in the best ways they were capable of. Veterans Day acknowledges the military service of our fellow citizens; on Memorial Day, we remember those who gave their lives that we may continue to enjoy the freedoms of life in these United States.

While many military service members could expect to face life threatening conditions on battle fronts, most were not prepared nor expected to be a part of our country’s experiments with weapons of mass destruction.

On July 16, 1945, in the New Mexico desert, the first atomic bomb was successfully detonated. Three weeks later, on the 6th and 9th of August, atomic bombs were exploded over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Though the bombings precipitated the conclusion of war between Japan and the U.S., reaction to the destruction and unfathomable death toll in the two Japanese cities was overwhelming. There were widespread calls from both scientists and lay persons for such weapons to be outlawed.

Yet, there were elements in our government who were intrigued by this new line of weapons. In a short time, the U. S. Navy called for volunteers to participate in a program to test the effectiveness of atomic weapons against naval vessels.

The number of volunteers fell far below expectations, so personnel were simply assigned to this operation, and many others that followed. Between 1945 and 1963, the United States conducted some 235 atmospheric nuclear weapons tests in the Pacific and the American Southwest.

At least 220,000 American service men and women witnessed and participated in these tests, or served in forces occupying Hiroshima and Nagasaki immediately following World War II. They were exposed to the potentially harmful effects of ionizing radiation in these weapons. Many of them have endured serious health consequences.

These service members, who refer to themselves as Atomic Veterans, are generally proud to have served their country.

They feel, however, that they were forced to be subjects in a risky experiment for which they were denied the option of informed consent.

It is only fitting that their dedication to duty be afforded proper recognition by Dane County and be brought to the attention of all Americans.

Be it resolved that July 16th, in this and ensuing years, be known as ATOMIC VETERNS RECOGNITION DAY.

/s/Sharon Corrigan, Chair

Dane County Board of Supervisors

* * * * * * *

Book Reading: We Gotta Get Out of This Place

Chapter 25 Welcomes the public at the Madison Urban League for a Special Book reading: We Gotta Get Out of this Place by Craig Werner and Doug Bradley

We Gott Get Out of This PlaceBy Paul McMahon, Madison Veterans for Peace

Madison VFP will sponsor a special public event on Wednesday, December 16, 2015, at the South Madison location of the Urban League, 2222 S. Park Street. The time is 6:30pm – 8pm. Please join us for this unique opportunity to meet VFP members and be introduced to this fascinating book on the music of the Vietnam War from an US soldier’s perspective.

Werner and Bradley spent 10 years interviewing hundreds of veterans and compiling their stories. The stories built around the songs that each veteran recalled most vividly from his or her service.

DougDoug Bradley, author of DROS Vietnam, has written extensively about his Vietnam, and post-Vietnam, experiences. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in March 1970 and served one year as an information specialist (journalist) at U.S. Army Republic of Vietnam (USARV) headquarters near Saigon.

CraigCraig Werner is a widely respected music writer whose book A Change is Gonna Come: Music, Race, and the Soul of America is used in dozens of classes on popular music. He is a member of the Nominating Committee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The authors will present several musical pieces, then open the floor to Q&A.   Books will be available after the presentation.

This is a great chance to connect, or re-connect, with Madison Veterans for Peace.

Chapter 25 works for peace and justice with Peace Rally and Memorial Mile

Featured speakers at the May 25 peace rally in Madison, Wisconsin, sponsored by  Veterans for Peace Chapter 25, are pictured in this photo montage by photographer  Paul McMahon, a member of Veterans for Peace. Clockwise from lower left: David  Newby, president emeritus of Wisconsin State AFL-CIO; Father David Couper,  former Madison police chief and ordained Episcopalian priest; social justice  advocate Everett Mitchell, pastor of Christ the Solid Rock Baptist Church; and Will  Williams, Vietnam War veteran, activist, and peace movement spokesman. Rev.  Mitchell is pictured wearing a stole of Kente cloth, a traditional fabric used for West  African garments and worn at times of great importance.  (Photos by Paul McMahon)

Featured speakers at the May 25 peace rally in Madison, Wisconsin, sponsored by Veterans for Peace Chapter 25, are pictured in this photo montage by photographer Paul McMahon, a member of Veterans for Peace. Clockwise from lower left: David Newby, president emeritus of Wisconsin State AFL-CIO; Father David Couper, former Madison police chief and ordained Episcopalian priest; social justice advocate Everett Mitchell, pastor of Christ the Solid Rock Baptist Church; and Will Williams, Vietnam War veteran, activist, and peace movement spokesman. Rev. Mitchell is pictured wearing a stole of Kente cloth, a traditional fabric used for West African garments and worn at times of great importance. – (Photos by Paul McMahon)

By David Giffey

The historic Gates of Heaven building resounded with applause and affirmation during the annual peace rally sponsored May 25, Memorial Day, in Madison, by Clarence Kailin Chapter 25 Veterans for Peace.

Four featured speakers delivered important and thoughtfully prepared comments, high school student scholarship winners were honored, and names of war casualties were read to live bagpipe music as the audience of 100 people received red carnations to be placed at the Lincoln Brigade monument at James Madison Park. The Gates of Heaven building, a former Jewish Synagogue, was moved to its present site at the park and served as a home for the peace rally.

A somber display – The Memorial Mile – also was erected by Chapter 25 members on May 23, and was scheduled to remain in place along Atwood Avenue until May 30. The Memorial Mile consists of 6,675 symbolic grave markers, which stretch a saddening and impressive distance along the street to be viewed by thousands of motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

The peace rally began with a stirring set performed by the band Old Cool.

Veterans for Peace member David Couper, an ex-Marine, and former Madison police chief and advocate of community policing, told the crowd: “Excessive militarism is dangerous in a free society…we have seen it manifested in our nation’s police. As soldiers, we fought an enemy, but police in a society such as ours must be our guardians, especially of those among us who are most vulnerable…” After Couper retired from his peace keeping work he was ordained a priest in the Episcopalian Church. His invocation was included in his thoughtful comments.

Activist and labor leader David Newby, president emeritus of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, described the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal as being devised in secret to benefit powerful corporations. “Memorial Day is such an important day,” Newby said, “for remembering those killed in this nation’s wars…It’s an important day for remembering too that the reasons for our being in these wars are so often not what we are told. So often it has been not the American people who we went to war to protect, but rather powerful corporations whose interests and profits were considered more important than the lives of the women and men sent to war.”

Everett Mitchell, a social justice advocate, attorney, activist, scholar and pastor at the Solid Rock Baptist Church, devoted some of his comments to lessons taught about war and peace by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As injustice and police violence reach into the lives of African Americans in Madison and communities across the U.S., Rev. Mitchell repeated a message for peace and justice activists: “Until there is justice, we can’t stop.”

Chapter 25 Veterans for Peace is heir to anti-war history.  Beginning in 1967, this hand-sewn flag made in Madison, Wisconsin, was used by Madison Veterans for Peace in Vietnam at numerous public demonstrations and protests against the war. Chuck Goranson, a Vietnam veteran, was a grassroots organizer of the group. “Vietnam” was dropped from the group’s name in 1970, when the war was expanded into Cambodia and Laos. Clarence Kailin Chapter 25 Veterans for Peace is a 21st century renewal of the earlier veterans for peace organization. This photo, by Chapter 25 member Phillip Fransen, was taken during the peace rally May 25, 2015, at the Gates of Heaven in James Madison Park. The aging flag serves as a reminder that veterans have long been active in the peace movement.  (Photo by Phillip Fransen)

Chapter 25 Veterans for Peace is heir to anti-war history. Beginning in 1967, this hand-sewn flag made in Madison, Wisconsin, was used by Madison Veterans for Peace in Vietnam at numerous public demonstrations and protests against the war. Chuck Goranson, a Vietnam veteran, was a grassroots organizer of the group. “Vietnam” was dropped from the group’s name in 1970, when the war was expanded into Cambodia and Laos. Clarence Kailin Chapter 25 Veterans for Peace is a 21st century renewal of the earlier veterans for peace organization. This photo, by Chapter 25 member Phillip Fransen, was taken during the peace rally May 25, 2015, at the Gates of Heaven in James Madison Park. The aging flag serves as a reminder that veterans have long been active in the peace movement. (Photo by Phillip Fransen)

Two of seven 2015 high school scholarship winners, Lyric Simonson and Jose Hernandez, read excerpts from their prizewinning essays titled: “Why I Believe War Is Not the Answer.” This year, Chapter 25 provided a total of $4,200 in scholarships to seven high school graduates. A record 39 students from seven high schools in Central and Southwestern Wisconsin wrote essays for the contest.

Closing comments by Chapter 25 member and Vietnam War veteran Will Williams pointed out the injustices of war that he realized after serving in war. Williams emphasized the importance of educating and supporting young people in order to overcome traditions of militarism and violence.

The peace rally ended with an invitation from the family of Clarence Kailin, namesake of Chapter 25 and a veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade from Madison, to join in scattering some of Clarence’s ashes near the monument at the park. Norman Stockwell, of WORT-FM, offered the invitation on behalf of Clarence’s family, some of whom attended the peace rally.

Names of Wisconsin residents killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and those of civilian casualties were read.

See more photos of the event here.  Courtesy of Tom Glassel.

Montage of Chapter 25 and Chapter 970 members marching in Monona Memorial Day Parade. (Youtube Link)

Hit It Up!

Let us know what you've been working on, what's on your mind, or what you'd like to share. Don't be a stranger… Let's talk!

We want to hear from you, feel free to comment on our blog postings.

Stay in touch – be sure to subscribe to our updates – you will receive an email every time we post something new.

zp8497586rq