Women Against War

PO Box 505, Delmar, New York 12054

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Ft. Drum Peace March

WAW co-sponsored the New York State Marches for Peace! 10-day peace walk to Ft. Drum, Watertown, NY, on May 8-17, 2008. There were three feeder marches originating from Rochester, Ithaca and Utica. These feeder marches merged north of Syracuse and walked together to Watertown for 4 days arriving on May 17th -Armed Forces Day. Visit http://nysmarchesforpeace.org for more info.

Here are excerpts from Paddy Lane and David Grodsky's reflection on the March. Their full report is found in the Blog section of the march web page:

Looking back on the three consecutive days that my husband David and I spent with "New York State Marches to Ft. Drum" brings a great sense of satisfaction. It was an extraordinary undertaking, and despite occasional communication glitches and other to-be-expected hassles, we felt it was an enormous success. ...

The size of our walking group varied from day to day. People would walk with us for a few hours or for a day or for a week. Ages ranged from babies in strollers to our oldest walker, a 79-year-old veteran of World War II. On the morning of day 8 we were about 35 walkers; by the time we reached Watertown early Friday evening we were about 60 strong as more people, especially veterans, joined us for the final hours. In addition to Iraq Veterans Against the War and our WWII vet, we also had veterans from Korea and Vietnam. ...

Our somewhat nervous expectation was to find communities all across upstate who were very supportive of the war and hostile to our presence. We had planned security for the march carefully, as other groups have been harrassed by organizations such as the Gathering of Eagles. Members of Veterans for Peace - veterans of Vietnam and other wars - had been called upon to accompany our feeder marches to help with this. We were warned especially that when we came into Watertown, this very pro-military community might give us a hostile reception.

Final moments, and beyond -
Friday evening and Saturday afternoon were times to come together, to celebrate our joint effort, to listen to great bands, to eat and yak and enjoy. Walk organizers spoke, Iraq veterans spoke. Crowds milled. Let me quote a description of Saturday after people returned to the cafe, written by someone who was there until the end: "Again, the cafe and its attached arcade overflowed with peace activists and veterans of all ages, talking, arguing, and generally enjoying the music. For the rest of Saturday until well into the night, musical performances were interspersed with short talks by Iraq vets and peace organizers. One high point was when a Ft Drum soldier recited an anti war poem that he had written for his soon-to-be-deployed soldier wife, as she sat, holding their infant child, in the front row. . . After twelve hours, the Drummer was host to a small group of Iraq war vets who gathered in a circle, surrounded by civilian supporters, and pledged renewed efforts to end this illegal and immoral war."

Now it is up to us to build on these ties, to forge these two communities into an effective, mutually supportive force for change. I am personally convinced that we will never get far toward changing our country's lust for war until we begin this kind of transformation.