Meeting Opened at 7:04pm,Thursday, October 28th, 2021

Attendance: Doug Rawlings, Peggy Akers, Richard Clement, Don Kimball. Dan Ellis, Martha Spiess, Laura Morris, Dud Hendrick, Sally Chappell, Eric Herter, Peter Morgan, Dave Larsen, Suzanne Hedrick, John Morris, Garrett Repenhagen, Ann Jones

Doug introduced Ann Jones and read excerpts from her book “They Were Soldiers”, which profiles the struggles of returning wounded veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. Ann then described her experiences in Afghanistan with Afghan women as well as the failure of the so-called experts to anticipate the sudden collapse of the Afghan army and government which culminated in the takeover of the country by the Taliban.

A wide ranging discussion filled on this and other topics including the need for humanitarian relief for Afghanistan, the lack of cultural awareness on the part of the U.S. military occupiers, physical and emotional problems of returning vets, the arrogance and deceit on the part of our government and military leaders, military recruitment policies, cost of war, attempted privatization of the V A, and ongoing drone warfare.

Ann concluded by thanking all of us for our efforts to combat militarism and stressed the need for grass roots action and local organizing.

Armistice Day – This year’s parade in Portland will be scaled down but we will gather as usual at Monument Square (9:30 am). We will also distribute copies of Laura’s cartoon on the cost of the F-35 fighter plane. Peggy contacted the city of Portland for information on the day’s activities but has received no response.

Garrett reported that eleven hours of video of various chapter actions on Armistice Day will be available on line on TWITCH.

Don Kimball brought up the possibility of the chapter sponsoring an Afghan family, one that has recently come to the U.S, .and/or contributing to an Afghan relief fund. No decision was made on either possibility but it will be explored further. Another possibility would be to hold a dinner for Afghan refugees as we did in the past for new Mainers as well as making a donation of boots and clothes if needed.

Peter reported on the upcoming Fitzgerald Award dinner and suggested a $750 donation to the Maine Safety Gun Coalition and Moms Demand Action to cover the cost of tickets for five meals for the event. A motion was made, seconded, and passed unanimously to that effect. This will be a virtual event due to the continuing Covid pandemic.

Treasurer’s Report: Treasury total as of 10/28 is $5526.62.

Secretary’s Report – Sept. minutes not available (not my fault).

Richard reported that the Maine Share merger is on track and looks to be favorable for the chapter.We should receive our next disbursement in January and it will probably be similar to amounts from those previous.

Laura showed a screen shot of her cartoon on the F-35. It gives cost figures for the plane and shows what $400 billion could do for food, rent tuition, and other items that would actually benefit the American people.

Doug reported that the latest issue of Peace and Planet News is available on line.

Richard expressed his displeasure of Colin Powell and his role in lying about the reasons for starting the 2003 Iraq war.

Sally recommended a book by Timothy Snyder (Yale historian) titled “The Road To Unfreedom” which chronicles the rise of authoritarianism in the U S, Russia, and Europe as well as other countries

Don asked about the ballots for the upcoming VFP National election. Voters must be veterans and paid-up members of the National. Garrett reported that 600 votes have already been cast electronically and that 2300 ballots will be mailed out on 10/28. Contact the National on the web site if you need a ballot. Donations are accepted to help defray the cost of printing and mailing but can also be directed to a particular project of your choice.

Meeting adjourned at 9:05pm. Next meeting on Thursday, December 2nd (Zoom).)