Peace rally held in Public Square

April 05, 2007|By DAN DEARTH


Onlookers greeted a handful of protesters of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq with cheers and jeers during an hourlong silent vigil Thursday afternoon on Public Square in Hagerstown.

Nine people opposed to the Bush administration's policy in the Middle East shuffled their feet to stay warm while holding signs that read, "War is a Racket" and "No War in Iraq, or Iran, or Syria."

An altered American flag that displayed a peace symbol instead of 50 stars fluttered in the wind as people drove by voicing both displeasure and support from the windows of their vehicles.


"(This vigil) is to show our support for the troops in Iraq," said Ed Branthaver of Williamsport and a member of the Washington County Peace Group. "We want them to come home now."

Branthaver, 69, said the United States is involved in an Iraqi civil war that cannot be won.

"They don't want us there, so let's accommodate them," he said.

Branthaver said he plans to hold vigils once a week until May 31 on the square to appeal for peace.

Mary Godwin, 49, of Boonsboro said she joined Branthaver at the first vigil last week.

Thursday's cold weather wasn't a plausible deterrent to keep her from attending the vigil, she said.

"It's certainly little to put up with considering what the soldiers and Iraqi people are dealing with," she said.

Godwin was flanked by her 10-year-old son, Caleb.

The troops are going through some "horrible stuff," he said. "I don't like the war."

Godwin said that for the past three years, she has attended every major protest against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We need to speak out and end this war," she said. "We need to have our voices heard, too."

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