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50th Anniversary Reunion, Committee for Nonviolent Action
Voluntown, Connecticut, June 11-13, 2010
Notes and Photos
by Gene Keyes


Part 1: Notes by GK (directly below)

Part 2: Front page article in New London Day (hard-copy scan), plus copy-paste of online version, with [hostile] comments (further below)

Part 3: Photos by GK (separate page)

(This is not a formal report, just some quick impressions and old memories. —gk)

Tom Cornell, eminent Catholic Worker, was an occasional colleague and friend during my stints at CNVA, 1961-64. When I later saw him in 1977 at Fellowship, he widened his eyes and exclaimed "Gene! You've aged horribly!" So, 33 years later when I met up with him again at Voluntown last week, I was quick to return the compliment. But in fact, he was among the best preserved of us seniors, hair and all, except white not black.
~ ~ ~

The reunion turned out much better than I had feared, and I only wish it had been a week instead of a weekend. I did not count noses, but perhaps 20 had arrived by Friday June 11, and around 60 on Saturday, somewhat fewer on Sunday, held at the rural Voluntown Peace Trust. It was a mix of CNVA old-timers, and various activists from the surrounding area,

Joanne Sheehan did the heavy lifting for the reunion, bringing a high level of energy, and a voice which needs no PA system. As well, she is the glue of the current incarnation of the Voluntown Peace Trust, which has been through more metamorphoses and changes of management than I can describe here. Due to earlier renovations, the place had taken on a mortgage of over $200,000, but Joanne is resolutely optimistic that it can be paid down. One of the main differences between the Voluntown of decades ago, and now, is the many local supporters it has in nearby communities.

Thank goodness for DeCourcy Squire: I might not have heard about the reunion otherwise. Jerry Elmer told her; she told me; I told Barry [Bassin] Kade, as well as others who were not able to make it. (And I'd re-found DeCourcy, and Barry, via Facebook, which, for all its faults, came in handy that way, Since I barely use FB otherwise — once or twice a month — I don't worry about its privacy foibles; if anything, it is too stingy with info about someone you might have known.)

Dithering since February on whether or not to go, I'd been nagging Joanne Sheehan in e-mails as to who was or wasn't coming, and I was spending way too much time researching travel alternatives from hard-to-reach Berwick in rural Nova Scotia (entailing three buses, a plane, and an overnight each way). But I finally gouged my Visa card and flew from Halifax to Boston. There at South Station I linked up with DeCourcy, who'd become a peace-action stalwart after I introduced her to Wally Nelson in 1967 (in Yellow Springs, Ohio, when I was on parole for draft resistance, and she was an Antioch student).

We took the Greyhound bus to New London, CT, where about a dozen of the earliest arrivals staged a demonstration with leaflets at the General Dynamics Electric Boat Co. Not my favorite activity: but once more for old time's sake. EB formerly made the Polaris ballistic missile submarines, and later its Trident successor, but now only does refits and maintenance on them.

Kenton Robinson, a friendly reporter  from the New London Day, with a video and camera crew, did a Sunday paper front page spread, above-the-fold (see copies below).

This was my first Reunion of any kind, since I'd skipped those from high school and college. I was braced for what 50 years might do to us (and besides, I'd joined Polaris Action in March 1961, even before Obama was born. . . ) Bodies were weathered, but spirits were strong. Marj Swann at 89, and Gene Sharp, 82, were hanging in there: each gave impromptu and potent presentations, each to a standing ovation. Bradford Lyttle was still spry at 82; he gave a slide show of the San Francisco to-Moscow Peace Walk, as if it were yesterday. (And I recalled elements of the talk from when I arranged his speaking appearances in Champaign, IL in late 1961.) The 17-minute "Polaris Action" film by Hilary Harris, now on DVD, was re-shown, and hopefully will be on YouTube before long.

DeCourcy and I had the three-hour bus trip to catch up on decades past, but at the group session on Saturday, each person had only two minutes to introduce themselves, as timed by Brian Cross's cellphone ringtone. Otherwise, all the re-acquainting was ad hoc, at meal times, etc. (For me, this was the main shortcoming of the reunion: not enough time to find out what people had been doing in the decades between the 'sixties and now.)

As befits a group with some anarchist genes, organization was a bit loosy-goosy, but things usually fell into place. Participants were fetched from and to bus stations etc.; beds were arranged; meals were well-taken-care-of, despite a half-hearted sign-up list. At one point it was proposed that separate interest groups get together for awhile; but instead, as Marj began to reminisce, that idea evaporated — and listeners presssed her to get on with her memoirs. (By the way, Gene Sharp and Brad Lyttle ought to have biographers; but I digress.)

At another point, five slightly more formal subgroups were set up. I led one to explore a metaphor that's been buzzing in my mind of late: a "Reverse Time Capsule" — not artifacts and news items in a cylinder to be opened 50 years in the future, but somehow to be sent to us 50 years in the past. What things and events would be most amazing to our 50-year-younger selves? Obama's election is the obvious one; or that Red China now supplies so much of our daily consumer goods. Or that we've survived the nuclear arms race — so far. You did good, CNVA.

The shorter Sunday session included a tribute to Marj Swann, and a "Wall of Remembrance" of deceased CNVA activists. A poster had been inscribed with all their names, and those at the reunion contributed anecdotes about many of them. (I cited Dennis Weeks, co-organizer with me of the 1962 Chicago-Washington Peace March, and how he would play the "Moonlight Sonata" if one of our hosting church basements had a piano: very soothing after a long day's march; and I got so accustomed to his robust rendition of its third movement, that ever since, any recorded version seems too wimpy.)

Without being exhaustive, I'll randomly mention some of the old colleagues I saw there, with apologies to those overlooked or slighted.

(I discretely refrain from bringing up numerous cases of marital instability that have dogged our ranks, including me. But I was pleased to see the cordial relation between Beverly Sterner and her ex, Bill Henry, who were both there. Bill, and partner Connie, are now establishing a multi-faceted peace and justice co-op in Vermont.)

The look on Beverly's face when she saw my name tag was almost worth the price of the air-fare. We'd both joined Polaris Action in early 1961, and were in the civil disobedience action that August when the Ethan Allen was commissioned. She was a lively presence then and now, and had a penchant for labeling things in the kitchen when NECNVA was housed at Norwich. So one day, Dick Zink and I labeled every possible thing in her bedroom, e.g., "sneezes" on the Kleenex box. Cracked her up indeed.

Barry [Bassin] Kade was my co-conspirator, with Russ Goddard, when we had a 3-way joint arrest "Pact" for draft resistance. Since then, he had gone through a California hippie-anarchist phase (with name change), but eventually settled in Vermont, where he's become a lawyer, of all things (or rather, an "outlawyer", as he calls it), specializing in prisoner advocacy: inspired when he saw the movie The Shawshank Redemption).

DeCourcy Squire, after a number of demonstrations and prison sentences, moved on to anti-death-penalty advocacy, and tax resistance. Her "Cat Lovers Against the Bomb" calendar has been a 27-year fund-raiser of Nebraskans for Peace. She eventually became a physiotherapist with a specialty in lymphedema.

Art Harvey showed up; he raises blueberries in Maine, instead of just picking them, and still sells Gandhiana books — nowadays via Amazon. Tom Cornell — currently at Peter Maurin Farm of the Catholic Worker network — always amazes me with his accounts of the influence of Catholic laity in general, and the Catholic Worker in particular: given that outsiders like me tend to see the RC Church in terms of its hierarchs and their defects.

Carol Swann organized sing-alongs at the reunion. David McReynolds, longtime apparatchik (ret.) at the War Resisters League was there: and I'll always remember his bon mot at a college speech 50 years ago. During Q & A, he delivered a throwaway, "I'm an anarchist, but I believe in government." Awaiting the expected puzzlement, he elaborated: "It's the State I'm against." Awaiting the expected question, he further elaborated: "What's the difference? Well, the government collects garbage. The State executes people!"

Juanita Nelson, widow of Wally Nelson, was there; she lives off the grid at Woolman Hill. Vicki Rovere, NYC, has a versatile list of endeavors, including song-writing, movement-button production, a sidewalk-giveaway-store — and even a book annotating 700 restrooms in Manhattan. Jonithin Stevens was one of the busiest kitchen volunteers, unlike slackers such as myself. Bob Irwin was a new acquaintance; he'd been a top assistant to Gene Sharp for six years; and hosted me overnight on my way back to Nova Scotia via Boston. (I also briefly met Sharp's current aide, Jamila Raqibshe happens to be a Pushtun, the major ethnic group in Afghanistan and adjoining areas in Pakistan.)

Better that we should have a web page with a brief reprise (plus then-&-now photos) for each of us; but these notes will have to do. As for me: after my active duty phase of peace demonstrations, draft resistance, and prison, 1961-66, I transitioned to peace research on ideas for unarmed military forces, and a doctoral dissertation on nonviolent defense. While I taught world politics as a substitute prof in three different years at two universities, my academic career never became permanent, and I scraped by on odd jobs, till "retiring" in 2003. Now my principal effort is compiling my research papers on nonviolence and other subjects (including world map design; and Esperanto) for the Gene Keyes website.

The New London Day on Sunday June 11, 2010, had a front-page spread, above-the-fold, about the CNVA reunion, by Kenton Robinson. While the whole story, plus a short video, was posted on the Day's website, I have scanned the print version below as a backup, assuming the online version is not permanent. (I also saved the web page to my disk, and reformatted it below, but could not get the video.)


ONLINE VERSION: re-formatted by Gene Keyes

Publication: The Day

   Note: Original web-page also included a 2 minute video from this URL:

   viewable; but I was unable to download it.

50 years of pushing nonviolence

Protesters found purpose in opposing submarine industry; first office on New London's Bank Street

By Kenton Robinso

Published 06/13/2010 12:00 AM
Updated 06/13/2010 06:35 AM
Abigail Pheiffer/The Day
Protestors pass out literature to General Dymnamics Electric Boat employees as they enter and exit the Groton facility on Friday, June 11, 2010. The event was organized by the Cooperative for Nonviolent Action to commemorate the “Polaris Summer” which was started fifty years ago this month by the New England Committee for Nonviolent Action.

Dana Jensen /The Day
Traffic turns from Bank Street onto Water Street past the peace vigil Wednesday, one of the events planned this week commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Committee for Nonviolent Action.

Reader Comments

Catholic_Citizen Posted - June 17, 2010 02:14 PM

I may not agree with them, but I will defend their right to say what they will. It's part of the Bill of Rights - and the obligation to defend the Constitution is an integral part of the Soldier's Oath. I swore it, many of the commentators here swore it, and there is a stature that represents countless millions who have sworn that oath before us standing guard over these protesters.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

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T from the one board Posted - June 15, 2010 07:38 PM

No village is complete without its idiot. The fact that we have several standing guard at the Soldiers and Sailors monument is a mark of progress. CONGRADULATIONS, NL! Not every town has such a strong representation public buffonery.

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Betsy S Posted - June 15, 2010 04:32 PM

My very first deletion ever and I couldn't figure out what I said that violated any policy. At least I find I'm in good company!

Someone at the Day seems to be overly sensitive to the extent that we are being refused our freedom of speech (through comments). Only protestors have that right?

We should always ask the questions that might be uncomfortable or even embarrassing about those groups who cause a public display or disruption. Silencing the questioners is un-American.

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Kev-ster Posted - June 15, 2010 07:28 AM

I'm not too crazy about these protesters, I walked past them too. I'm not too crazy about Tea Partiers either, maybe you have to tolerate one to have the right to join the other.

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wylie Posted - June 14, 2010 06:35 PM

HMAC: Actually, for once I didn't see any posts on this subject that warranted deletion.

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HMAC Posted - June 14, 2010 06:16 PM

I agree, your use of peter pans I thought was fairly mild, I know I wanted to use something a little more harsh, discretion got the better of me.

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wylie Posted - June 14, 2010 05:38 PM

It would be nice if when, "This comment has been removed for violation of policy.", that they would specify what the infraction was. I thought that I had (finally) learned to be fairly civil on this site... OK. so calling someone "Peter Pans" may have been a bit condescending. But a violation??? Harsh. Someone has a pretty thin skin at The Day. Geez. It makes it sound like I dropped th F-bomb.

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wylie Posted - June 14, 2010 05:31 PM

allicat: You seem to assume that only peace activists hold the high ground on altruism. Based upon my personal activities I can say that you are wrong. I volunteer in my church, kid's school, some political campaigns, environmental work, as a Troop Supporter at a work-based charity, maintaining nature trails, pushing for recycling at a town where I once lived, manning the procession route for the last two local soldiers who were killed in service, donating generously to charities, keeping an eye on my elderly, widowed neighbor, etc... I regret having to take public credit for these actions which I would have preferred to keep quiet (because I believe that true charity should be anonymous). But I felt compelled to dispel your false assumptions.

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John Yannacci, Sr. Posted - June 14, 2010 05:20 PM

I don't know what nerves you hit, alleycat, all of your posts have been removed.

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HMAC Posted - June 14, 2010 04:33 PM

I give blood at every blood drive I can, I'm a scout master for a local Boyscout Troup and I'm active in my church, and with all that my wife and I are raising three children. That's community service! You are a classic case of a 22 cal. mind in a 44 mag. world. Your welcome for your right to free speech.

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allicat Posted - June 14, 2010 03:42 PM

well, well, it appears I have certainly hit a nerve here! and all it took was to redirect Mr. Irons' statement to "further research and find out how these people support themselves. Or, more to the point, who supports them? Is it we the taxpayers? " from one group of people with obviously too much time on their hands to another.(that would be you bloggers) and the point is proven: to judge someone based soley on a difference of an opinion is wrong. To those of you who have served in the military I honor and thank you. I would like to add that there are more and different ways to serve our fellow citizens. for those of you with extra time, please consider volunteering, visiting a shut in neighbor or perhaps even a kind word to a stranger. This is bringing honor and service to a community level.

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HMAC Posted - June 14, 2010 02:34 PM

It seems some are questioning our employment and military history. I served in the Marine Corp, from 1980 to 1988. I now work for the Naval Dept.
I doubt the cnva people can say the same, And David Irons, Marine27896 and myself are ridiculed, go figure!
I'd rather they just said thank you for there right to protest, because without us and so many more this country might be alot different.

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David Irons Posted - June 14, 2010 01:19 PM

wylie, your candor is appreciated. Although you did not serve, the fact that you now strongly support those of us who did speaks well of you. Truth be told, had I not been drafted, I can not say that I would have served either. But I was drafted and, rather than do as Blumenthal did, I chose to answer the call.

Good to see that you won't be "pulling a Blumenthal".

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wylie Posted - June 14, 2010 11:36 AM

David Irons: Just so that I don't have a Richard Blumenthal moment...I want to clarify that I never served in the armed forces. When I was younger I was too selfish. In hindsight, I wish that I had.

Because I never carried my weight in defense of this country, I support our service people without reservation whenever I can.

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wylie Posted - June 14, 2010 11:32 AM

John Y: Agreed. I believe that Liberals and Conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, etc, etc all have the same goals; peace, liberty, equality, prosperity for all. We just differ greatly on how best to achieve those goals.

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John Yannacci, Sr. Posted - June 14, 2010 10:54 AM

I can't see what everyone is so up in arms about. These people are peaceful protesters. They're not the SDS, Symbionese Liberation Army, or the Black Panthers. They don't block anyone's way and they aren't violent or obnoxious. They are simply exercising a constitutionally protected right. We, who served in the military took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. I don't remember any codicils stating that I only had to defend it when I agreed with the the subject being protested. I would love to live in a world where war didn't exist. Unlike these protesters, I feel that is an impossible dream and that we have to prepare and be ready for war. Building subs is part of that preparation. This country always has been and always will be comprised of people with different opinions. Our Constitution makes it possible for people to voice those opinions peacefully without fear. Back in the 70s, I was at a dedication at a VFW Post in Massachusetts. I remember the chaplain giving a prayer in which he said that he prayed for the day that there would be no need for VFW Posts. A pipe dream perhaps but the same pipe dream that the anti war protesters have. The animosity that is being expressed here is senseless.

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David Irons Posted - June 14, 2010 08:13 AM

allicat, I think you would find that most of those like wylie, HMAC, Marine27896 and I do work and have also served to defend our country and those freedoms which allow these people to protest. We do not deny them their right to protest. We defend it, as we did for all those years we wore the uniform and put our life on the line for them and you.

But, we also have those rights which those protesters so readily take advantage of and we will utilize the rights we fought for and defended to express our opinion as well.

Now, perhaps, you can go back and ask those who have so much time on their hands that they can travel the country to stage their protests, do they work? And, if not, how do they support themselves? Or, more likely, what taxpayer funded handout supports them?

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David Irons Posted - June 14, 2010 08:05 AM

HMAC, thank you, you version of the poem is the one I was trying to remember. This time,I am going to save a copy of your father's wording of it. Again, thanks. And my belated condolences on your dad. I lost mine the same year at age 80.

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wylie Posted - June 14, 2010 07:57 AM

Comment removed for violation of site policy.

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allicat Posted - June 13, 2010 10:25 PM

Comment removed for violation of site policy.

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wylie Posted - June 13, 2010 10:10 PM

Comment removed for violation of site policy.

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allicat Posted - June 13, 2010 09:22 PM

Comment removed for violation of site policy.

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HMAC Posted - June 13, 2010 07:02 PM

Davids Irons,
I'm not sure which one is more accurate the version you posted or the one I have below. They both speak volume's. When I saw your post the poem sounded familiar, my father had this version in his dress uniform pocket, which I now have.
God and the soldier
All men adore
In time of trouble,
And no more;
For when war is over
And all things righted,
God is neglected -
The old soldier slighted
My dad passed away in 1988, I"m very proud of him and his service to our country and equally proud of you and all who served. Thank you, and I'll pass that prayer along to my dad tonight.

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SEctres Posted - June 13, 2010 06:53 PM

Interesting that some of postings are from people who are against anyone that does not agree with what they think.

I also served during the 60's and although I do not agree with the protesters anti defense stance, I respect their rights to protest. I don't feel serving gives me any more rights then those who did not serve. It was my choice. I do not regret one minute of serving our country. But again it doesn't make me any more privileged then those who didn't.

We don't have to agree or listen, but let them protest. It's their right! Some of today's pacifist served in Vietnam and many of today's hawks never served at all.

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Just Dave Posted - June 13, 2010 05:31 PM

It must be great to dream of living in a utopian world, but unfortunately we don't!
Since the beginning of recorded history and before, man has always found a reason for war; either it was resources, race, boundaries, religion, and a result of some ego maniac's self indulgence and in some cases, tradition. It's the nature of the beast!
These people should remember that for every flock of doves that sit down at the peace table there has to be a hawk standing in the background; otherwise their pleas for peace won’t be heard! Common sense will tell you that!
This means you have to always be in a state of readiness! YOU MUST PREPARE TO SURVIVE! If your potential aggressors' believe mutual annihilation or his total destruction will be the end result any major conflict, then he is not likely to engage you! You attain peace through strength!
Even in nature, plants, animals, insects, bacteria and viruses all develop ways to defend and attack each other. So if we are what evolutionary science says we are, then we are no different!
Leaving yourself vulnerable is plain STUPID!
Survival is about being prepared! If you’re not prepared, you have little chance of surviving! If you don’t survive, you're not alive, and then what is the point!
I'm sure these people all had good intentions, but to try and change the nature of man is, and was, always predestined to fail.
The fact that this particular newspaper chose to print a celebration of failure, only shows how much thought they put into this article!

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David Irons Posted - June 13, 2010 04:25 PM

HMAC, if your father is still with us, please give him my sincere "thank you" for his service. If he is no longer with us, please say a prayer for him on my behalf.

I have to admit to not understanding Latin (though I could have asked my wife to translate) but I Goggled it for the translation. Coming from you, I felt it had to be worthwhile. Thanks.

Tony, I believe you are right that America has awakened again. But I fear it will again be a temporary situation. Let me see if I can recall a poem I heard long ago. (I know this isn't the exact wording I saw. If anyone has the correct wording, please post).

God and soldier all men adore
In time of strife and time of war
But when troubles over and the world is righted
God is forgotten and
The soldier slighted.

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Tony Cabral Posted - June 13, 2010 04:11 PM

Liberty: That was very well expressed! Everytime I saw the pacificist dude holding his sign with his mime like posture at the Soldiers's and Sailor's Monument day in and day out I knew he was not the menace.The menace is complacency among even the minded,even handed citizens,not extremists of any sort.The good news is I believe America has awakened once again.

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HMAC Posted - June 13, 2010 03:33 PM

David Irons, Thank you for your postings today, it's to bad all our word's fall on deaf ears! I was going to banter further, however I can see it would be waste of time. I'm glad someone got the Latin quote, my father a Sargent Major in the Marine Corp used it often.

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Liberty Posted - June 13, 2010 02:48 PM

The menace to society is not peaceloving people; the menace to our society is the ones that forgot,,,there still remains a bully on every corner, and holding a peace sign in his face is not going to stop him from htting you or forcing you to do something you may choose nto too...like "hand over your freedom or hand over your money,,,or hand over your Free country..." cause we say so. To the weak ones who feel that peaceful solutions is a banddanna on your forehead and a pipe of pot in your mouth and a bunch of noisey music....Sorry that won't cut it for me..FREEDOM is being able to HOLD your ENEMIES at Bay not handing them candy....cause they won't settle for one chocolate they will want the whole lot. So all you hippies keep doing what you do....in the meantime stay out of the way please....as you may get run over by people who do believe in a strong America and Patriotism.

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wylie Posted - June 13, 2010 01:52 PM

I find it ironic that these people are wasting their time protesting the building of Ballistic submarines and calling them "machines of death", regardless of the fact that NEVER has one of these boats EVER fired a missile in the act of war. They have positively proven their purpose of deterring a war just by being there.

It's a fact that more people have died from food poisoning caught at a Church supper than has ever been killed by a ballistic submarine.

Maybe these Peter Pans need to protest outside a church potluck dinner....

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Live Here Posted - June 13, 2010 01:18 PM

Mr. Irons, we have done much more than prepare. As the once fearless and defeated Napolean once said, You can do anything with bayonets...except sit on them.

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David Irons Posted - June 13, 2010 01:06 PM

While I strongly disagree with those protesters, I will, and did, defend with my life their right to do so. But, I too have those same rights which permit me to voice my disgust with their antics and philosophies. For, you see, all those years I spent defending their rights, I was also defending my rights to free speech, and our other rights.

Dollar Bill, HMAC, wylie and others, hang tough. Our right to express our opposition to these peaceniks is just as valid as their right.

And for those who didn't bother to translate HMAC's Latin quote, "Si vis pacem, para bellum", it means "If you wish for peace, prepare for war". Thanks, HMAC. Well said.

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Live Here Posted - June 13, 2010 01:06 PM

Ronna Stuller has brought a semblance of rationality to this little conversation. I am not a pacifist, but I am against the mindless (undeclared I might add) wars we have waged since the end of WWII. Not one has brought peace. We have a collapsed economy, and Congressman Courtney sings the praises of the jobs created by spending billions of USD on submarines. To argue that Vietnam (or Korea or all the other invasions after) was right because young US soldiers were killed is to ignore the cruelty that left 3 million Southeast Asians, most civilians, men, women and children dead and maimed. With 800 bases world-wide what exactly are we getting? That is trillions of USD. Meanwhile we bleed oil in the gulf, much of which was destined for military use. We have confused the need for security with the huge and ever expanding cost of militarism; a cost that exceeds all of the rest of the world combined.

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ed Posted - June 13, 2010 01:00 PM

Wow, Thank God for all of you privileged War Mongers! According to your raving posts here, We have killed our way to the top and will continue to kill to stay there. An eye for an eye only brings blindness! A simple solution for the simple minded! Peace is not wrong, you are!

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Cheap Seats Posted - June 13, 2010 12:50 PM

Although I disagree with these protesters and think they are wasting their time...good for them. I swore an oath to uphold their right to protest. I don't have to agree with them. So what if The Day wants to let us know that these people believe strongly in their convictions. Great! Let's celebrate our great country where these folks can protest and we can ignore them. Our press can write about them. Sounds like things are working in this country...

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Dollar Bill Posted - June 13, 2010 12:49 PM

This comment has been removed for violation of policy.

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HMAC Posted - June 13, 2010 12:44 PM

Si vis pacem, para bellum

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Past Resident Posted - June 13, 2010 12:28 PM

Ronna Stuller - How long do you think it would take for this country to be reduced to a third world country if we got rid of our defense weapons and programs? I agree with wylie wholeheartedly. But I must add that we do need people thinking peace to keep everything on an even keel. I guess its part of the checks and balances that make this country what it is. This group is just a little over the edge in its demands though.

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wylie Posted - June 13, 2010 12:03 PM

Ronna Stuller wrote: ..."What is practical about spending billions of dollars to build weapons we hope to never use?"...

That is exactly the point of not using these weapons systems. If you have them you will not have to use them. It's called, "Mutally Assured Destruction", and it is the reason that no shots were actually fired during the cold war. If the US did not have these weapons, there would surely have been an actual bloddy war.

Get your head out of the sand. These are just a bunch of aging hippies looking to re-live their acid fueled Glory Days before they pass on to the great bong in the sky to the sounds of a tambourine procession and a Kum-Bay-yah chorus.

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Ronna Stuller Posted - June 13, 2010 11:49 AM

I had the privilege of meeting Marj Swann on Wednesday evening, when she and other CNVA members and supporters joined our regular weekly peace vigil. She recounted that, when members of the Minutemen were serving their sentences for attacking the Voluntown Peace Farm, the residents reached out to help the families of the jailed men. Sometimes, we have to decide, in a violent and imperfect world, whether to continue to perpetuate the problem, or to make a stand to try to be part of the solution. I certainly promote peace in my preschool class and in my neighborhood, and it's not considered controversial at all. Why is it different when we try to enlarge the circle of peacefulness to national policy?

Our world view has become backward. What is practical about spending billions of dollars to build weapons we hope to never use? Or about causing human and environmental damage when it is deemed necessary to use some of them? We currently purchase train cars from Japan; couldn't EB's workers' skills be well utilized (and well compensated) manufacturing things we urgently need and currently import?

One last comment: I wonder why the "get a job!" response to peaceful demonstrations is so common. Some people who witness for peace are retired, some are disabled veterans, but the vast majority of us have jobs, own homes and pay taxes like everyone else. Do we really want to live in a country in which people are so beaten down by their employment that they have no time or energy for anything else? Is that the nature of the freedom that we cherish? I hope not.

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HMAC Posted - June 13, 2010 11:31 AM

Who's providing the blanket of freedom these people sleep under every night? Our men and woman fighting abroad that's who! I respect the right of these people to protest, what I don't respect is where they protest! A war memorial honoring those who fell is not the place. My family has lost son's, father's, uncle's and daughter's in every war since the Revolution and to protest at a war monument disrespect's there sacrifice!

I grew up in Voluntown, these people are far from peacefull, they would look for trouble and when they found it they would claim they were performing a peacefull demonstration. They once defaced the memorial stone in town, in protest they claimed, my uncles name is on that stone, so we made our own form of protest directly to them.
When we people get it, freedom isn't free!

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SEctres Posted - June 13, 2010 11:02 AM

"further research and find out how these people support themselves" by Dave Irons, who cares and what does this have to do with anything?. Are you saying that how someone supports themselves determines what they can do under the constitution?

The day we don't have questions and protests against policies in this gret country is the day we get one day closer to nazi Germany.

John Yannacci's comment is the only one that addresses what it is all about.

We don't have to agree with the protesters, but they have the right to express their beliefs. That is what makes America so much better then the rest of the world!!!!!!!

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soho Posted - June 13, 2010 11:00 AM

Google info about Lyttle is that he writes books, which people must buy, and he also sues city police departments. You've got to make a living some how.

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Betsy S Posted - June 13, 2010 10:28 AM

This comment was removed for violation of policy.

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John Yannacci, Sr. Posted - June 13, 2010 09:56 AM

Every time I re-enlisted and when I was commissioned as a warrant officer, I took an oath to "...support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America...". Seeing these people practice their Constitutionally protected right to peacefully assemble makes me feel that I fulfilled my oath.

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Larry Greene Posted - June 13, 2010 09:55 AM

The proponents of peace movement have always been fake. They lump nations that initiate war in with the nations that defend themselves. It's not like they don't know the difference, they do. They choose not to go where, as Marine27896 points out, those that initiate war may be. Instead, they protest in the nations that are the defenders against war. That demonstrates what side they are really on. They are less for peace than they are for surrender.

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David Irons Posted - June 13, 2010 09:49 AM

Perhaps Mr. Robinson could do some further research and find out how these people support themselves. Or, more to the point, who supports them? Is it we the taxpayers?

Kenton, you opened this can of worms. Now follow up and give us an answer to this question.

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David Irons Posted - June 13, 2010 09:46 AM

The last line, "And today they will conduct a memorial service at their farmhouse in Voluntown to remember those among them who are gone." speaks volumes.

They will gather to remember those who protested. Will they shed a tear for those valiant, brave service members who over many years and still today are laying down their lives to protect the freedom of speech that allows these clowns to show their ignorance?

Thank you, Swann and the rest of these malcontents, but I prefer to remember those who gave their all that you might enjoy your freedoms.

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Cynic Posted - June 13, 2010 09:45 AM

Just what we need, a smirking, one-sided hero-worshipping piece with the benefit of 50 years of hindsight. Non-violence has an honorable tradition in this country; my ancestors, the Rogerenes, practiced it in the face of oppression from the New London 'establishment,' to coin a phrase. I respect these people for following their moral convictions.

The writer, however, clearly is pushing a giggle-giggle approach: how silly we were to fear the 'Red menace!' How enlightened we of the modern media are! There never was a threat. Just ask anyone in Hollywood, the source of modern political enlightenment.

Maybe the writer should solicit opinions from eastern Europe.

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Gossip Posted - June 13, 2010 09:35 AM

tsk tsk tsk, such animosity!

it's the concept of peace that all too many have overlooked as a possibility. we know we must deal effectively with the countless thugs around the world, and the ones inside 'our world' here too. that's the reality, and its a nasty one. choices made (and events that follow) will be carried forward as lives are built upon basic premises and beliefs, as are actions which follow due to natural human reactivity.

altering them here does not really change the thugs 'over there', so we must safeguard ourselves, yet not become so habitually dependent on flexing our might needlessly. its nice to be a 'big strong body builder', but that too has its own limited usefullness. it costs money, it wastes time and takes away from other basic needs.

there's always going to be bullies, fatheads, tyrants, gun totin' jerks, and some plain crazy nutcakes ready to stomp, maim, razz and bomb people for any real or contrived reason. but they are exceptional people (in the most exceptional sense) and they live among us and 'over there' too.

as a small sidestory, i will never forget riding my bicycle northward on Eastern Pt Rd one fine sunny day years ago. it was about the EB lunch time and the throngs of yardbirds were occupying (as in taking control of) the entire street so i dismounted so as to show due caution. despite that, i received countless free thrown beer bottles (empty, dammmit, or i would have caught them!) tossed at me for no dammmn good reason. that left me with a clear and decisive memory, and to forever find a way to revenge those slobs until the day i die.

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Tym Posted - June 13, 2010 08:59 AM

And these people are now running the USA, you people are doomed.

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VicGuan Posted - June 13, 2010 07:53 AM

I just read about a pacifist who became a medic and won the Medal of Honor for his actions during wartime. Those are the people I admire, not these individuals.

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