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Related Categories: San Francisco | Anti-War
In San Francisco activists commemorate Veterans Day by protesting war and warmongers
by Robert B. Livingston (gruaudemais [at] yahoo.com)
Monday Nov 12th, 2007 12:27 AM
CodePink activists commemorated Veterans Day today with a series of peaceful protest actions that began at the Golden Gate Bridge and ended at the Federal Building where House speaker Nancy Pelosi keeps here district office. Here are some photos.
view_from_bridge.png
Veterans Day
November 11, 2007
San Francisco

At about noon today, about a dozen CodePink activists dressed in pink and carrying peace signs and banners met halfway across the Golden Gate Bridge to attract attention to their messages from passing motorists. The group composed mostly of women were accompanied by a similar number of largely tolerant policemen from the California Highway Patrol who walked alongside, or puttered behind on motorcycles. No one was arrested or harassed, and no accidents or disturbances took place.

Besides trying to encourage the steady stream of passing motorists to "Honk for Peace", the CodePink activists gathered to read names of U.S. soldiers who have been recently killed in Iraq and observe a moment of silence for all those who have suffered or died in war. All of this took place amidst largely incurious tourists snapping photos and just generally enjoying a sunny day, oblivious that any holiday was taking place.

Asked why they bothered despite being mostly ignored, all the activists admitted great discouragement. After all, weren't all those passing SUVs just one big bad finger saying, "Forget it! Who Cares? We'll keep paying for the oil-- and we don't care how we get it! We don't care how many people die-- it won't slow us down one bit!"

And how about all those moms and dads pushing strollers-- what do foreign wars mean to them? Their kids are not "over there". Not yet anyway. But why should that ever happen anyway-- people who volunteer to fight in Bush's or some other president's colonial wars are just unlucky or stupid suckers. Not like their own kids who will grow up to becoming "successes"-- like the "Millennials" which CBS 60 Minutes informed us about this evening in its weekly hour of propaganda (already studded with Christmas commercials to get us shopping early). http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/11/08/60minutes/main3475200.shtml

Despite the activists' discouragement (one said she felt like she was eternally climbing a mountain with no end in sight, another that she had been depressed by events for months, another that he doubted that he had changed many minds in these last years despite all the protests he had attended)-- they all nevertheless expressed resolve to continue their struggles for peace.

All had very personal reasons for participating today-- maybe they had lost family members or friends to war, or they had once had their own lives turned inside out by war. All truly and deeply felt compassion and sorrow for all those who our government leaders euphemistically and regularly describe as "being put in harm's way". People who have needlessly perished, been maimed, or had their dreams of opportunity and happy family life destroyed. For all the activists, the best way they could think of to commemorate the valor and sacrifice of our veterans is to declare that all war must end, especially the wars built on lies like the ones that told us that our service people are fighting for freedom when they are really fighting for corporations and greedy interests. http://www1.va.gov/opa/vetsday/proc2007.asp

After concluding their protest at the Golden Gate Bridge, the activists left and reassembled downtown in San Francisco in front of the War Memorial Building on Van Ness Avenue across from City Hall.

There they used colored chalk to outline the bodies and names of the U.S. troops killed since Congress passed the last Iraq/Afghanistan funding bill in March.

Again largely ignored, the activists deliberately worked away for much of the rest of the afternoon, and hardly completing their task-- there have just been so many killed since that time.

They managed to cover the sidewalk in front of the building and farther up into the next block with messages and outlines, carefully writing in names and ages. With time pressing, they went a few blocks over to the Federal Building on Golden Gate Avenue where Nancy Pelosi keeps her district office-- and there attempted to complete their task, further writing messages of protest up the walkway leading to her building. Exhausted, they rested awhile and took stock to leave, wondering if some unlucky custodial crew would wash their messages away before office workers could ever have a chance to read them.
§CodePink activists on Golden Gate Bridge
by Robert B. Livingston Monday Nov 12th, 2007 12:27 AM
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Today's peaceful protest occurred without incident. In the past, authorities reacted by holding up the peaceful demonstrators, making arrests, and accusing them of disrupting traffic.
http://tinyurl.com/y3cbru
http://tinyurl.com/3526oh
§Two CodePink activists display messages
by Robert B. Livingston Monday Nov 12th, 2007 12:27 AM
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§An activist passes out literature
by Robert B. Livingston Monday Nov 12th, 2007 12:27 AM
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§For some, peacemakers are hazardous
by Robert B. Livingston Monday Nov 12th, 2007 12:27 AM
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Wouldn't it be nice to have this type of escort everytime one uses a pedestrian crossing in San Francisco?
§Portrait of a protester.
by Robert B. Livingston Monday Nov 12th, 2007 12:27 AM
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She had crafted her own beautiful banner to carry-- one side in honor of soldiers who have perished, the other side in honor of Iraqis who have perished.

In the comment section below, I will try to add a photo showing it.
§Activists read the names of those who have died since March
by Robert B. Livingston Monday Nov 12th, 2007 12:27 AM
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This was the last page of the list.
§A peace activist from CodePink
by Robert B. Livingston Monday Nov 12th, 2007 12:27 AM
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Where were you this Veterans day? What did you do?

Please take a moment to think of those who have sacrificed for our country-- those who answered the call and did their duty. And please spare some thoughts whose call is in service of peace, like these women-- who also do their duty because their convictions allow them no other choice.
§A CodePink activist with chalk.
by Robert B. Livingston Monday Nov 12th, 2007 12:27 AM
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This photo was taken in front of the War Memorial Veterans Building where the Herbst Theatre is located.
§CodePink activists chalking the sidewalk
by Robert B. Livingston Monday Nov 12th, 2007 12:27 AM
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§A CodePink activist writing the name and age of a soldier who could have been home
by Robert B. Livingston Monday Nov 12th, 2007 12:27 AM
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§An activists draws a peace symbol
by Robert B. Livingston Monday Nov 12th, 2007 12:27 AM
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§More names...
by Robert B. Livingston Monday Nov 12th, 2007 12:27 AM
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§And more...
by Robert B. Livingston Monday Nov 12th, 2007 12:27 AM
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§The Federal Building where Nancy Pelosi keeps her San Francisco office
by Robert B. Livingston Monday Nov 12th, 2007 12:27 AM
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Much has happened since last November when the Democrats took control of Congress--
http://tinyurl.com/2hku6e
http://tinyurl.com/2b6dxo
http://tinyurl.com/2pgxk5
http://tinyurl.com/228b2t
http://tinyurl.com/23bqmm
http://tinyurl.com/2osnee

Still- Nancy Pelosi has yet to meet with antiwar activists-- or truly heed the will of the majority of San Franciscans who oppose the war and want to see Bush and Cheney impeached.
§A message more and more people are coming to understand
by Robert B. Livingston Monday Nov 12th, 2007 12:27 AM
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§Some of the remaining activists look over their work in front of Pelosi's building
by Robert B. Livingston Monday Nov 12th, 2007 12:27 AM
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Funny how calling the Federal Building "Pelosi's building" is more apt-- because the majority of Pelosi's constituents today are no longer welcome there.
§A skateboarder pops the Security Wall
by Robert B. Livingston Monday Nov 12th, 2007 12:27 AM
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Heavily fortified since 9/11, the concrete security wall in front of the Federal Building (even with its metal clips to discourage skateboarders) is no barrier to a teenager who repeatedly rides it while the activists chalked the sidewalk on the other side.
§A security officer reports the chalked sidewalk on his cellphone.
by Robert B. Livingston Monday Nov 12th, 2007 12:27 AM
19.png
He had come out of the building to drive off the skateboarders who ran away.

After noticing the chalk he makes a call-- which seemed hard to place. After about twenty minutes he came out again to ponder the chalkings and suggest that he thought he would have to detain us.

While he was thinking, we loaded up a car with our things and left.
§Federal Cemetary at the San Francisco Presidio
by Robert B. Livingston Monday Nov 12th, 2007 12:27 AM
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This is what it is all about.

The Presidio National Cemetary in San Francisco, like Arlington or others around the nation is hallowed ground where many soldiers from past and present wars are buried. Row upon row of simple stones commemorate their sacrifices for their country.

How many more cemetaries like this one must there be?

How are these men and women to be remembered in the future? Will wars now and in the future be noble undertakings of last resort-- or will they be ignoble meat grinders waged for the sake of those who profit off of war?

A very wise person once said, that we are all the descendents of killers. That is how our strange species has oddly survived.

Today, however, we have weapons that will erase our species completely-- but we have the knowledge and will to end all war-- if only we would use it.
§Crafted Banner
by Robert B. Livingston (gruaudemais [at] yahoo.com) Monday Nov 12th, 2007 12:37 AM
crafted_banner.png
This is one side of the banner a CodePink activist carried onto the Golden Gate Bridge today. She said that she had to make it for the sake of remembering Iraqis who have perished since the United States invaded their country.

It specifically commemorates the 1000 pilgrims who died in a stampede on the Al-Aaimmah bridge in Baghdad in 2005.

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