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Rally for Peace congregates at City Hall
ARLINGTON Scores of Arlington-area residents gathered in the Arlington City Hall plaza Jan. 27 at noon to conduct their own Rally for Peace, in conjunction with several similar Peace rallies taking place that day throughout the state and across the country, including Washington, D.C.
Clyde Cramer, acting as the events master of ceremonies, emphasized that the focus of the rally was not specifically anti-Iraq war, but instead, that its participants hold out hopes for peace around the world and fair treatment of our veterans.
Pastor Deena Jones, of the Arlington United Church, expressed on behalf of the rallys attendees the deep humility they felt, as sinners who have not loved our neighbors as [God] taught us, before Paul Nyenhuis performed a somber flute solo, during which most members of the audience bowed their heads, either in prayer or in silent contemplation.
Cramer followed Nyenhuis music by urging those within earshot to write their elected officials, contact them with your concerns, and ask their support for attaining a lasting peace resolution.
Copies of the They Represent You! free citizens directory of elected officials, published by the League of Women Voters of Snohomish County, were passed out to the crowd at this time, as Cramer suggested letters, e-mails and telephone calls, not only to the citizens elected officials in Olympia and Washington, D.C., but also to the editors of all our newspapers.
Cramer then asked that those present assist our veterans, along with the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the local chapters of whom were unable to speak at the days assembly.
Father Jim Dalton, pastor of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Arlington, concluded the event by leading the group in reciting the Prayer for World Peace, written by Joan Chittister, as well as in singing America the Beautiful.
Afterwards, Arlington resident and Rally for Peace participant Sue Hanowell referenced scripture, as she wished that more people would love their brothers, not hate them, and not only tolerate them. Theres a difference between tolerating and loving. You cant be complacent in a democracy. You have to stand up and do what you can. You have to get a fire going in your heart.
While Hanowells fellow rally attendees agreed with Cramers sentiment that the scope of their gathering went well beyond the conflict in Iraq, many still cited Americas ongoing involvement in Iraq as one of their motivating concerns.
Arlington local Mary Trushinsky showed up at the City Hall plaza with her husband Mark, whose brother is currently stationed in Iraq, carrying matching Pray for Peace signs, while Terry Willis, who hails from Arlington Heights, admitted that President Bushs proposed troop surge inspired her to join in the event.
As soon as I heard about it, I started looking for a peace rally that I could go to, said Willis, holding a peace symbol placard. Dropping bombs doesnt make us any friends.
Les Abbenhouse and his wife Gloria also came from Arlington Heights, Gloria in her walker, and while they were brief with their words, they could barely contain their emotions.
When I think about it all, I almost start crying, Gloria said, after a quiet moment.
We both despair sometimes, Les said. I was born at the tail end of the First World War, and it nearly seems as though war has become a way of life, at this point.
But peace is possible, Gloria said. People need to know that.