Meeting opened at 7pm
Attendance: Doug Rawlings, Peter Morgan, Larry Gilbert, Seth Berner, Dan Ellis, Lynn Ellis, Suzanne Hedrick, Don Kimball, Martha Spiess, Peggy Akers, Tom Whitney, Eric Herter, John Morris, and guest Rosalie Paul
Inspiration: Rosie sang “We Shall Be Known” by the vocal duet MaMuse. Her voice was in no way “wobbly”.
Doug remembered Ken Perkins who died recently. was a Korean War veteran, a Quaker, and a champion of peace.
Secretary’s Report: March meeting minutes accepted as written.
Treasurer’s Report: $4,106.91 in checking account, $3,934.75 in savings account, $8,041.66 total.
Dues renewal letters will be sent out in May.We will also receive another distribution from MaineShare some time this year.
Suzanne read some excerpts from her archives about the destruction wrought by the U S Military on North Korea during the Korean War, in particular the bombing campaign that destroyed most cities and killed an estimated 20% of its population.
Samantha Smith Project: Don reported that several committees are at work planning the activities for the dedication of Exit 45 of the Maine Turnpike in South Portland as Samantha Smith Way. It will be on June 5th, Samantha Smith Day, and will feature a gathering at the Best Western Hotel in South Portland including speakers, entertainment, and refreshments.
Don invited anyone who is interested in helping on a committee to contact him.
Suzanne recalled Samantha’s funeral in Augusta which included a message from Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev in which he expressed his hope for peace and cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union.
Golden Rule Project: the committee (Peter, Martha, Peggy, Doug, and Don) reported that they have been working on the various aspects of the Golden Rule’s stay in Maine (Portland, Georgetown, and Bath). Several organizations have been contacted and have expressed interest in being part of the celebration.
Expenses are expected to be $6000 and the chapter will contribute $1500. Two months of fundraising will be necessary to acquire the remainder of the money.
The committee will meet weekly to finalize arrangements.
Common Ground Fair: Will be held in Unity on September 22-24. We agreed to participate and Doug will confirm this (two tables) with MOFGA.
Memorial Day Parade: (Topsham to Brunswick). Rosalie asked if VFP would take part. We will participate and march with Brunswick Peaceworks, as we have done in the past. Rosalie will keep us informed as to the specifics of the parade.
Doug’s Vietnam Trip: He has been invited to participate in an August conference to be held in Hue.This is a five day conference on the history of Vietnam and Doug has been asked to speak on the topic of resistance (especially GI resistance) to the Vietnam (American) War.
A motion was moved, seconded, and passed unanimously to provide Doug with $1500 toward his expenses for the trip, for which he expressed his sincere gratitude. He is well deserving of this assistance.
Doug reported that Richard did not attend tonight’s meeting due to his distaste for Zoom meetings. Discussion was held on the possibility of holding future meetings in person and several formats were suggested including three live meetings in Portland, Augusta, and Brunswick with a fourth meeting via Zoom, making all meetings a combination of Zoom and in-person, having afternoon meetings instead of evening ones,and holding meetings in conjunction with actions such as Samantha Smith Day, the Memorial Day Parade, or the Common Ground Fair. A good possibility would be in Brunswick on parade day. More to come on that.
Eric reported on his recent trip to Vietnam and his continuing work on his film.He is considering a series of shorter clips of his interviews with Vietnamese who were involved (on both sides) in the war rather than one full length documentary.
Peter reported that although he abstained from voting in last month’s sponsorship of Lisa Savage’s protest against the war in Ukraine, he would oppose any future endorsements by the chapter of similar protests if they included the same declarations as the previous one. In particular he objects to the use of the terms “proxy war” and “special military operation”.
Discussion was held on the divisiveness within various peace organizations on war and foreign policy in general. It was agreed that differences of opinion on these matters should not be allowed to disrupt our overarching goal of working for peace and against militarization.
Larry recommended a webinar in early May featuring retired Colonel Ann Wright who will be speaking on militarism and war games in the Pacific.Details will be posted on the Listserv.
Don reported on the ongoing feedings on Saturdays in Deering Oaks Park, his upcoming show on WMPG featuring a Vietnam War photojournalist, and that he posted the minutes of the Samantha Smith Committee to the web.
Lynn reported that the $500 check that she sent to the National in December still has not been cashed, but doesn’t know why
Meeting adjourned at 8:30pm.