veterans for peace maine

December 7, 2020 Meeting Minutes

December 7, 2020 Meeting Minutes

MINUTES FROM THE THURSDAY, DECEMBER 7TH CHAPTER MEETING

Disclaimer: Since John Morris wasn’t on the call, I, your humble president, decided to take notes. It is therefore quite acceptable for you to blame John for any mistakes that follow in these minutes.

IN ATTENDANCE: Peggy Akers, Richard Clement, Dan Ellis, Doug Rawlings, Dave Larsen, Peter Morgan, Peter Woodruff, Don Kimball, Ed Jurenas, Dud Hendrick, Martha Spiess, Suzanne Hedrick, Tarak Kauff, Ellen Davidson, and Craig Wilson (guest).

For our inspirational moment, Doug read an excerpt from the 2019-2020 Collection of  Letters To The Wall written by a college student about her good friend who had joined the military. Then the meeting officially began.

Craig Wilson was invited by Martha Spiess (thank you, Martha!) to present some of his remarks that were made at the last VFP National Convention.  His topic was “ The Case For An Arctic Nuclear Weapons Free Zone.”  He presented for about an hour with many questions and comments coming his way. Dud Hendrick has personal experience with the resisters in Greenland and elsewhere that resonated with me. His comments and questions furthered Craig’s case nicely.  As did questions and comments from others.  A video recording of Craig’s earlier presentation at the convention is available. Thank you, Craig, for your thoughtful and thought-provoking remarks.

The secretary’s report from last meeting was accepted as written.

The treasurer’s report: We have $5500 in the bank at the current moment.  The last month brought in $450.00 in donations; expenses included providing funds for the homeless veterans project that Peggy, Don, and Bill are carrying forward on our behalf (thank you!) and providing funds to help the Vietnamese people as they struggle with recent typhoons (a request made by Chuck Search, president of the VFP Vietnam chapter).  Richard reminded us that we should be receiving a bi-annual check from MaineShare before the end of January. Richard also agreed to work on our federal tax arrangements. We also agreed to donate $250.00 to Rise-Up (the group responsible for keeping our website/list-serve alive) and $200.00 to the Maine Media Center in support of their future projects (they were the folks that hosted last year’s VFP My Lai Project).

Doug presented this idea for consideration: our chapter host a monthly film series for public consumption that reflects our concerns for world peace, that demonstrates how veterans can effectively engage in the public discourse, and other related issues.  He suggested that we start our series with the film “Sir! No Sir!” about the anti-war movement led by veterans during the American War in Viet Nam. Susan Schnall, who is featured in this film, has agreed to join us after the film’s showing to lead a discussion.  The next film would be Dud Hendrick’s account of his project that brought wounded Vietnam War veterans from our country together with NVA veterans for a bike ride from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City.  Most of the participants had been wounded in the war. Dud would join us after the film to lead a discussion.  Following films would be selected by a committee of VFP members after soliciting films from others. At this point, both Dan and Ellen stepped forward with suggestions for filming that would insure we have smooth sailing.  Members present agreed to go forward with this project.  Doug will work with Ellen and Dan to make this happen.  We agreed to show the films on the second Thursday of each month from 7:00pm to 9:00pm (the first film will be shown on February 11th).  We will keep chapter members informed as the project progresses.

The next issue of PEACE AND PLANET NEWS is in the mail to us — we will be receiving one bundle for the chapter and one bundle for Doug Rawlings (a co-editor of the paper).  Tarak and Ellen gave us a good preview of the paper — our last print version for awhile probably. It will be going on-line.  If members want papers for distribution, please contact Doug via email and let him know how many copies you want.  He’ll mail them out to you or…..

Martha Spiess showed us the banner she will be unfolding on January 22nd at BIW (Bath) in opposition to nuclear weapons and in celebration of the new international treaty banning nuclear weapons.  Please note that folks are concerned about distancing and masking during the action (which the organizers recognize), so please act accordingly.  Doug may be there with issues of the paper referred to above.  Or he may not be…..

Discussion then focused on how we can respond to the current events overwhelming our country.  In particular, should we, as veterans for peace, engage in any actions to de-fuse the situations that may arise.  As can be expected, we are torn.  First off, we are all very aware of the presence of Covid-19 and are concerned about our own personal safety as well as the safety of our loved ones. Secondly, we also recognize our obligations as citizens (and veterans) to show that not all Americans support the right-wing agenda so graphically displayed in DC last week. Thus, we have to select our actions carefully.  To that end, the indefatigable Peggy Akers has agreed to resurrect a phone-tree for all members to join if they are so moved. We would discuss appropriate responses to events and determine what we would do prior to putting our feet on the ground.  If you want your name and phone number to be included on this list, please send your phone number to me (rawlings@maine.edu), and I’ll put you on the list.

Suzanne Hedrick mentioned earlier that she has a whole bunch of papers from the 1970’s forward that capture the essence of anti-war movements.  She wants to know what to do with them.  That engendered a conversation about our archival collection.  If memory serves me correctly (warning!), Smitty (Clarence Smith) has some archival collections; Dan Ellis has others; I’ve got a few; and Bob Lezer might have some as well.  The question that Suzanne posed is a good one — what to do with them? After some conversation, Doug agreed to contact his university’s library to see if they’d be interested in holding the collection, and Don Kimball said that he’d contact USM’s library.  We will keep you informed as we progress on this project.  Alternative solutions to the problem are welcome — like, Hey! I’ve got space at my house….

Finally, Doug announced that the latest volume of collected LETTERS TO THE WALL (2019-2020) will be available for purchase in the next few days.  Stay tuned for further developments.

NEXT MEETING: JANUARY 28TH 7:00PM TO 9:00PM VIA ZOOM.  We’ll put out an invitation to the meeting the week of January 28th.

Please take care of yourselves and stay in touch.  We are in this together….

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