Protests draw vets, first timers
Vail, CO Colorado
FRISCO ” If your vehicle passed the war protestors at the intersection of Summit Boulevard and Main Street on a recent Friday afternoon, you probably played a part in one of the following three scenarios:
1. You avoided eye contact and pretended there was no one on the corner with posterboard and fingers splayed in a V shape.
2. After reading the signs, you honked. This may have been in support of the peace signs, in reverenceto the anti-Iraq war cause, or for any myriad other reasons that motivated you to press palm to steering wheel, thus turning your vehicle into a voice of support.
3. You made a hand gesture showing your opposition to the protestors’ message.
But who are they, those people at the intersection. Well they are locals such as Monte Lowrance, who has lived in the High Country for 32 years. He wears a gold peace symbol on a gangster-like chain. He said it’s been on his bedpost for 35 years, since the Vietnam War, but it’s back now for what he calls “a war for oil.”
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Bob Boyd stands a little farther down the line. He’s lived in the area for 27 years, and said he takes whatever opportunity he can to show his support of bringing the troops home. He feels, as a veteran, that it’s his responsibility to stand up for what he believes.
“Too much of our country’s finances go into the national defense fund,” he says.
Marie Roberts has brought her husband, John, out to the roadside because her sign-holding hand is in bandages from a minor surgery earlier in the day. Marie formed the protest gathering by placing a small newspaper announcement five weeks ago.
“Most of the cars seem to like us,” she says with a smile. “It’s important to have something here in Summit County.”
Mickey Miller’s on the end, near the stoplight. He doesn’t spew words of peace or Bush diatribes, and he’s more beat poet than bleeding heart in his delivery. His message is sharp: “Our men and women have no business dying in Iraq,” he says.
There also are first-time protestors like 71-year-old Dick Brown. He lived through Vietnam, but you wouldn’t have found him at a rally during that time. He wasn’t involved with political or social activism until he was almost retired, and says he let things go as they were until “I finally had to wake up.”
Brown, who moved to Summit County full-time almost a year ago, says this area is much more progressive than Huntsville, Ala., where he resided part-time until about a year ago and subsequently spoke out against the war. “There we were called traitors, spat at, and stuff was thrown,” he says.
A few steps down the gravelly gathering area, Fran Dall’s inaugural protest is getting under way. She admits to being a little nervous, but her message comes across clearly:
“I want our troops home is what I want,” she says. “I never believed in this.”
There’s also an academic. To hear Joan Hutchinson’s words, you need to move a little closer on account of Green Day’s “American Idiot” playing on the battery-powered, portable stereo in the background. She’s been a half-time Silverthorne resident since 1992. Her other days are spent as a math professor at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn.
The 62-year-old said she did lots of Vietnam protests, and says that at Macalester, there’s people protesting the war every day. But in Summit County, she thinks speaking out is important for a different reason:
“Almost no one here knows anyone involved with the war,” she says. “It’s as if the U.S. isn’t even in a war.”