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Take Action in Your Own Community!

On March 19, the anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, UFPJ is calling for and supporting a variety of local activities in all 435 congressional districts around the country. While it is important to have a strong turnout in DC for the civil disobedience actions on the same day, it is also important to be visible and vocal in our local communities during this time, as Congress will not be in session and so our representatives and senators will be in their home districts/states.

These actions may vary in location or character, but they will all be tied to the protest in Washington and sending a message to the policy makers: It is time to end this war and occupation!

5 Years of Local Action

From Anchorage to Miami Beach, from Caribou, Maine, to San Diego, people all over this country are organizing to mark the 5th anniversary of the war and occupation of Iraq. So far, more than 540 actions in all 50 states, are listed on our calendar, and more are being posted hourly. That's a remarkable story in itself.

But what's more is that many of these communities don't just turn out for these tragic anniversaries, they come out of their homes and gather in their town squares, on the steps of their city halls, at the corner of their town's busiest intersections and make visible their outrage, sorrow and protest due to this illegal, immoral war every week, every month -- and they've been doing so for 5 YEARS.

As we get closer to marking this 5th anniversary, and the beginning of the 6th year of war and occupation in Iraq, we'd like to pay tribute to that dedication to peace demonstrated every day in towns all over the country.

If you have participated in a regular peace vigil that's been going on for 2, 3, 4, 5 years now, please email us at webmaster@5yearstoomany.org and tell us about it. We'll post your messages on this page.

St. Augustine, FL: "When/how did you start? People for Peace & Justice/St. Augustine started 6 months before the invasion on Iraq.

What's kept you going? The fact that people are dying as we go on with our lives. We need to be there to remind the public that the Iraq war is based on lies in our name.

What kinds of reactions do you get? How have reactions changed over the years? At first, most were quiet and hostile...now mostly in support but still a few nasty hostile "hanger

What's the most memorable conversation you've had at a vigil? Probably the most memorable conversation I had at our vigil was when a mother from Miami stopped by after bidding goodbye to her son who was departing to Iraq from the Naval Station in Jacksonville. She stopped in St. Augustine when she saw our protest. After 4 years she didn't know that people were protesting the war. She asked us if she could stand with us and hold her son's picture for all to see. This was a very emotional and meaningful experience for her.

This was one of many incidents that validated our purpose for standing week after week for 4 years protesting Bush's war." --Marilyn Bagdonas, St. Augustine, FL

DeKalb, IL: "Our weekly peace vigil 5-6:00 p.m. Fridays on a busy street corner of DeKalb IL started 12-7-01, which means we've protested EVERY week for over 6 years. Although weather in DeKalb is often either horribly hot in the summer sun or beastly cold & windy in the winter, we've never missed a Fri., although we do stand in shifts on nights like tonight, when the temperature is predicted to go down to 6 degrees with a wind chill factor in the minus teens. In good weather, we conclude with a brief Peace Circle at 6, where we host occasional speakers, read poetry, share stories, welcome newcomers, make announcements, & conclude with hand in hand singing of We shall live in peace.' ... We upgrade our signs and try to vary our focus from week to week, wearing black hoods & orange capes on Shut Down Guantanamo Day, and commemorating anniversaries of the war as well as benchmarks in number of troops lost, along with hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. On occasion we have attract up to a hundred participants." Cecile Meyer, DeKalb, IL

New York, NY: "I am a member of Veterans for Peace Chapter 34 in NYC. For the last 3 years I have had the singular honor to stand with the Raging Grannies at their Rockefeller Center vigil each Wednesday. Their leader, the indefatigable Joan Wile has been an inspiration, and it is a source of pride to know that there are people in this world such as she and her stalwart Granny's. I have watched as the attitude of the public has changed to one of support of our position. We meet many visitors from other nations and they are invariably appreciative of our efforts. I have found it possible to engage active duty military who share our perspective as well. On a number of occasions I have witnessed the heartbreak as a tearful parent tells us that it is already too late for the Son or Daughter they lost in this mindless aggression. As we approach the 4000th reported death, and the 5th anniversary of this abomination, we stand together in a valiant effort to restore some sense of honor and decency to our nation. Unfortunately, my friend Cindy Sheehan belongs to an increasingly large family united in bereavement." --Hugh. R. Bruce, Chief Warrant Officer, US Army, Viet Nam 66-67

Philadelphia, PA:"PRAWN, the Philadelphia Regional Anti-War Network, has been conducting two actions each month. In both cases, we encourage cars to honk their horns to demonstrate their unhappiness with the war. In the case of the second action, we tell bicyclists and pedestrians that if they say "honk," then we'll count them in our monthly tally.

Our vigil in the vicinity of Senator Specter's home (we're usually clustered around the corner of Vaux St and Schoolhouse Ln, Specter's house is down Timber Ln) and started in December 2005. It's been as little as three people and as many as two dozen. A sign with Cindy Sheehan's famous question to Bush "What is the noble cause that my son died for?" was the centerpiece of our protest for quite awhile." --Richmond L Gardner, PN3(Ret), USN, Philadelphia, PA

Laramie, WY: "In January 2003, Stand Up for Peace decided to hold a weekly protest on the corner of 3rd and Grand every Friday afternoon from 4:45-5:15 PM in Laramie, Wyoming. Of course, back then, Wyoming was squarely behind George W. Bush and his ill-advised war in Iraq. But a small group of people decided that we wanted to create a space where people felt free to disagree. So, on Friday afternoons, for half an hour, we made sure that the community had some opportunity to say no to war. While we had a number of signs that encouraged people to HONK FOR PEACE, in the beginning, the abuse we received far outnumbered any honks. And when the honks did come, they were usually tepid taps on the horn. That didn't really bother us, though. We were happy for any sign of support.

Every week since then, at least a few of us have been on that street corner on Friday afternoons. At times, we have had as many as 25 people standing with us. On a few lonesome Fridays, there has only been one person able to attend. But, no matter what, someone is there to remind people that this war goes on and on and on. That first winter, we faced one day when it was 32 below zero BEFORE factoring in the wind chill. We only survived about 20 minutes but we were there. And, of course, since this is Wyoming, we've spent more time in subzero weather than I really want to remember. But it doesn't matter what the weather -- vicious winds, steady rains, blowing snow, blizzards, or glorious sun -- we're there with our suns." --Lesley Wischmann, Laramie, WY