Being Vigil

Yesterday was the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, it was also the 34th anniversary of a peace vigil held every Monday on the corner of MLK and Doty in Madison, Wisconsin. I went to honor the people who have stood for peace all through the years and to add my voice to theirs. I held an old sign that reads “It’s time for peace, stop the war.” A woman approached me and asked, “To which war does your sign refer?” I replied, “I think the war within each of us is the war we must fight to end.” That was not a satisfactory answer and she continued to prod, “so there is no war worth fighting?” I said, “the war within is enough for me.” A veteran held her attention for a bit and explained he was not a pacifist, thought that military action would never end war, but he would have fought in WWII. She pushed me further asking, “are there any good wars?” “This is not a question I want to answer,” I replied. “The question I want to ask and answer is, can I stop the war within? I think if we can do that, war on the outside would end.”

“You are naïve,” she told me. “Perhaps,” I said, “but peace will never happen if we don’t try.  I am hopeful people can change,” I said. She then honored me as she turned and walked away saying, “you are like Anne Frank. She was naïve, too.”

It takes courage, clarity and love to stand for and to be in peace. Thank you to all who keep, or have kept the vigil – in your hearts and on the street.

“Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.” ― Anne Frank, Diary of a Young Girl

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