27 April 2006 Minutes
Veterans for Peace Chapter 001
Prior to the meeting, the documentary After the
Fog was shown, 6:15-7:30 pm. The film featured comments by veterans
of the Korean War, WWII, Vietnam, & the Iraq war about their enlistment
experiences, their war experiences, and their post-war adjustment experiences.
The documentary was put together by a group from Vermont. The quotations
between the veterans’ statements were also excellent. A brief discussion
Meeting began at 7:47 pm.
Treasurer’s Report: We have a balance of $5,417. Two thousand dollars
originally committed to support the PTSD symposium was not needed. All
PTSD expenses are in. The program cost us $6000 and we raised a little
over $8000 in donations and entrance fees. Doug also noted that $976 was
recently donated to Chapter 001 from proceeds taken from the “Songbird”
play at U-Maine Farmington. For three nights, the theater was packed with
college students and community members. Doug would like to see this play
go on the road to perhaps Deer Isle and Brunswick or other venues. “Songbird”
is a play with a cast of 12 involving children and adults w/ lighting
and music pre-recorded. It’s a 2 hour show with one intermission. It features
the story of a young man in the National Guard who is sent to Iraq. Although
there are children in the cast, it is very much an “adult” play with themes
and language suitable for mature audiences. Peggy Akers volunteered to
send a thank you note to the director for donating all the proceeds to
April 21—Town hall meeting in Portland. Bruce Gagnon and the rest of the
group did a fabulous job. Peggy said she loved it that everyone had a
voice. Jack and Faye distributed over 570 post cards to be mailed to our
congressional delegation. WMPG was there and will use in a campaign special.
Over 60 people spoke. DVD’s will be sent to the congressional politicians
and the governor asking them to respond, letting them know that their
responses will be shared with those present who have signed the mailing
list. This meeting expanded the base of interested people. This was an
opportunity for candidates for political office to speak and Jean Hay
Bright, Pat Lamarche, Dexter Kamilewicz and Chris Miller spoke. There
will be a follow up meeting on May 6 at 1 pm at O’Naturals in Portland.
There was a Lenten vigil at BIW the five Saturdays prior to Easter Sunday.
It was noted there was a more positive response than in prior years.
Richard Clements spoke at a rally in Waterville that was organized by
young people. Sixty to seventy people were present.
This coming Sat. there will be a march in NYC. Several people indicated
they were going.
Dud noted that he went to Camp Casey for Easter with Cindy Sheehan and
Rob Shetterly. There he met Ann Wright, Daniel Ellsberg among other national
peace activists. Dud also noted there is a publication at $10 each, from
New Press “Ten excellent reasons not to join the military” and the book
“The Logic of Withdrawal” by Arnove.
Dud also passed out toy soldiers with stickers saying “Bring me home now”.
www.mouthswideopen.com. These are being placed strategically throughout
communities (banks, libraries, etc). .
Question raised if perhaps Cindy Sheehan would come to speak at the September
launch at BIW.
“Sir, No Sir” movie distribution-Michael Uhl says the producer has 500
to give away and that details are on the website IVAW.net
May 29—Memorial Day parade in Brunswick.Stan went to the preliminary
meeting and registered VFP for the parade. Alan McGillivray of Farmington
is working on the helicopter and the float. Rob Shetterly has approved
using his portrait of Hugh Thompson as part of the float. Thompson is
the helicopter pilot who put his helicopter between American troops and
Vietnamese civilians, saving many Vietnamese lives, during the My Lai
massacre. We need a large number of VFP members to participate in this
parade. We will also develop a brochure to be passed out at the parade.
Doug, Dan Ellis, and John Wirtz will work on that (Peggy will send Doug
the cover from a children’s book that might help in developing the brochure).
There was discussion about what the banner on the float would say. It
would be similar to the lead statement on the brochure. The float will
cost us $500 ($250 paid and $250 paid when completed). Anyone with ideas
for wording on the banner for the float send to Doug. Dud volunteered
to be the photographer during the Memorial Day parade. Bob Dale asked
if we might use the same float during the Bath Heritage Day parade on
July 4. Bob will check into what is needed for that parade. May
26—Friday night. Bruce, Dud and Doug discussed having a movie or speaker
in Brunswick on Friday, May 26th, prior to the Memorial Day Parade.
It was mentioned that Tom Lewis, who was with the Catonsville Nine, might
be available to speak at the launch on 16th September. John Wirtz said
that he’d check into that possibility.
Maine Social Forum: We continued our discussion of becoming a sponsoring
organization at the forum this July. We decided to spend $100 to set up
a table at the forum and to present a workshop on non-violence but not
to be official sponsors. Stan stated forcefully that they are a peace
organization and that we are not being reasonable in our reluctance to
join with them. And they stand for exactly the same thing as VFP. Doug
thinks that we have to stand by our avowed mission statement: to abolish
war and to do so non-violently. It was noted that American Friends Service
committee will have a table there as well. Dud questioned if the VFP decision
was a slap in the face to the Maine Social Forum & if having a table is
sufficient support. Is VFP being picky? Bruce noted that perhaps discussion
within VFP prior to approaching Maine Social Forum would have been better.
Not really a problem then. Jack will send a letter to the forum expressing
our intent to have a table.
PTSD symposium evaluation meeting was held and it was decided that a fall
follow-up program focusing on the modern battlefield and post war illnesses
would be held. Perhaps a symposium would be held on a regular basis—either
annually or semi-annually. VFP has established itself as a strong PTSD
voice in Maine. Tom wondered if having multiple programs would dilute
the effect. Perhaps we could sponsor legislation calling for testing and
treatment of all National Guard Units regarding exposure to depleted uranium.
Other states are doing this & perhaps we should focus on this in the fall
for the upcoming legislative session. Kim Hawkins is a knowledgeable specialist
on depleted uranium who has expressed interest in coming to a meeting
to further inform us on the issue.
It was suggested that Seth Burner become an honorary member of Maine VFP
Chapter 001. Doug read a letter from Jack making that recommendation.
It was noted that we currently have 3 other honorary members—Larry Dansinger,
Mariah Holt and Rob Shetterly. It was agreed that we would invite Seth
to next month’s meeting in Portland to formally “induct” him as an honorary
Doug stated that he thinks of Maine VFP as having three roles: education,
street action, and community awareness. Perhaps a fourth could be legislative
action. It was suggested that we hold a retreat to discuss our activities
in each of these roles and our organizational structure some time in November.
It was suggested that this be an overnight retreat.
Bob Dale noted that the movie Why we Fight is at the Evening Star
Cinema in Brunswick and on May 4 at 7 pm there will be a special showing
at which Maine candidates for state and federal offices have been invited
to speak after the movie.
Tom Sturtevant noted that the movie Why we Fight is at Bates College
May 9 at the Archives and the producer of the film will be there. It was
suggested that members attending either of these showings wear their VFP
Doug noted that Maine VFP has a 1/2 page ad in War Resisters League award
program for women.
Doug noted that the 2006 National VFP convention will be in Seattle and
at the end of the convention many plan to go to Vancouver, British Columbia
to meet up with war resisters from Canada.
Bruce said that the radio ads ($500) to promote the town hall meeting
were very good and effective.
Next meeting in Portland, Thursday, May 25th at the Portland Public Library.
The April meeting adjourned at 9:08 pm.
Maine Veterans For Peace
13 Soper Road
Chesterville, Me 04938