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.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Moving Words from a Vietnam Vet

Paul Appell (on right in yellow vest) helped carry the lead banner in the VFP march to the White House on Tuesday.


Paul Appell is a Vietnam Veteran and runs a family farm (corn and soybeans) in Illinois.  On his way home from the protest in Washington he wrote the following words which I found quite moving.

As I sit here in Chicago waiting for my connecting flight and think back on the last few days, it was my best Memorial Day ever. I have the highest regard for the truth and feel so pleased that I did not have to undergo the stress of listening to the militaristic views of war designed to promote the next one. As I got to the Harrington Hotel [in DC] Monday after the MLK speech reading, three long haul truckers insisted on buying me a beer. Despite my feeble resistance, one free drink turned into 6. That was my limit but then 3 DC police officers bought another round that, after getting hugs from them, I could not turn down. I stayed too long because I felt I had an obligation to try and impart some truth to one of the truckers whose father was a Viet Nam vet who came back fucked up. When he was a small boy, his father held a gun to his son's head for 18 straight hours. Dan Shea and I hopefully made the point that it was the war that screwed up his father. War destroys much more than most realize. 
 
A Gold Star mother, whose son died a painful death from DU [Depleted Uranium used by the US in war zones] induced cancer sent me this note when I told her I put her son's name on the Bell Tower. "I wished I had the words to tell you how much you and your actions mean to me." 
 
This heartfelt comment from someone who has undergone much pain from the Iraq War is also directed to all involved with the last few days.
 
~ Paul Appell

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