Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Sunday, January 08, 2012


Today we sadly learned that a great man has passed on. Tom Sturtevant, a Maine Veterans for Peace stalwart, died yesterday.

When we moved to Maine in 2003 it became clear to me that Tom was one of the most dedicated and selfless people I had ever met.

Tom went with us to South Korea in 2009 for our annual Global Network conference in Seoul. Tom was stationed on a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier off the coast of Korea during the war and was deeply changed by the saturation bombing of North Korea. He often recalled how virtually every standing building in the north was destroyed by U.S. warplanes. He took a Veterans for Peace flag with us on that trip and wanted it to be given to South Korea Veterans for Peace. On my next trip to Korea I was able to deliver on that request and brought back a South Korean VFP flag that we presented to Tom at one of our Maine VFP meetings.

Last Friday I got a letter from Tom with a check for $500 and a news clip from the Boston Globe in the envelope (he was always sending me articles from various papers). I called to thank him for his kind donation. He said he wanted the funds to go toward our February 24-26 Global Network meeting on Jeju Island. He said he wished he could come along but felt his age prevented him from the travel.

Over the years Tom participated in virtually every event I organized in Maine - whether for the Global Network or for our chapter of Veterans for Peace. I loved him like a father. I will miss his quiet but steady leadership so much.

Tom Sturtevant was a true man of peace.

You can see an interview I did with Tom on my public access TV show here


Anonymous Lindis Percy said...

I am so sad to hear this news. I met Tom when we went to Seoul. I was so impressed by his peaceful presence and am so pleased that I had the priviledge of meeting him. The world is the poorer for his going - a lovely man.

Lindis Percy
Joint Coordinator with Melanie Ndzinga

1/8/12, 5:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bruce, Thanks for informing. It is sad news for the people like me in Korea, too. I remember Tom’s gentle and beautiful smile. He was such a kind and generous man! We could feel how good-natured, thoughtful, and courageous man he was. I was also surprised when he walked so healthily with vitality near the DMZ, in Pyeongtaek and Mugeon-ri in 2009. His presence and manner, and concern in small details touched me deeply at the time.

The Veterans for Peace of Corea has kept his banner so preciously. How wonderful it is that he has connected the bridge between the veterans in the United States and Korea. Despite psychological and physical scars from war, the solidarity between the VfP in U.S. and Korea has touched many people. It is a beacon of hope and love for our next generations. How honorable man he is!

I can hardly express my thanks to him for his wish for the Jeju conference. I feel his love of Korea. It is a gift from love that we should accept with deep gratitude and respect.

The Jeju struggle has grown up thanks to many peace-loving people in the world like Tom, who understand how critical this struggle is.

Here I send my sincere homage and love for him. We will remember him. Tom will be always with us. Let us not forget him.


Here is Tom Sturtevant’s speech in the Seoul conference 2009

The Arrogance of American Imperialism
By Tom Sturtevant
April 16, 2009

See the link on the friendship and solidarity between the VfP U.S. and Korea in which Tom Sturtevant’s role was critical (mouse down)
Saturday, August 28, 2010

Photo Fwd: [From the VfP Convention, U. S.] A Banner for the Solidarity bet. the Veterans for Peace in Corea & U.S. [미 평군 회담] 한미 평화 재향 군인회 연대를 위한 배너

Sung-Hee Choi

1/8/12, 7:27 PM  
Anonymous Christian Louboutin said...

I really like this blog ,will remember the attention to it.

1/8/12, 10:54 PM  
Anonymous Diane H. Messer said...

It is with deep sadness that I learned of Tom's passing. He's been a shining example of commitment to peace and justice. It has been an honor and a pleasure to be a friend of his, and stand together for peace in a number of venues, including working together in Veterans For Peace. He has been an inspiration. And I am left without adequate words to express what his friendship has meant. Presente, Tom!

1/9/12, 10:33 AM  
Anonymous Morgana said...

I am so sad, and a little shocked, to hear about this. Tom sent me a card sometime between Christmas and New Year's, thanking me (again) for singing at the Blue Angels protest he organized, which was one of the high points of my summer. I was amazed that he was thoughtful enough to send a card to somebody he only met once. I meant to write him back with the lyrics to a new song; I wish I had finished it sooner.

1/9/12, 3:14 PM  
Anonymous Emily Perkins said...

Thank you for the lovely photo of Tom and the nice words about him. I was lucky to know Tom very well and he was like a grandfather to me, and a wonderful influence. His passing does not seem real...
Miss you Tom.

1/9/12, 3:27 PM  
Anonymous Ben Sturtevant said...

Bruce, Thank for the kind words and great interview you did with him a couple of years ago. I hope to talk with you soon about him.
Ben Sturtevant, Tom's son.

1/10/12, 7:45 PM  
Blogger Bruce K. Gagnon said...


Our hearts are with you and the family...your dad was a treasure to all of us....thanks for sharing him. Best wishes to you all.


1/10/12, 9:37 PM  

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