Like the wars the vigil is continued, though diminished, as we enter late September of 2016.
Click on the title below to learn what the vigil means.
Gail Newbold, Barbara Walker & David Williamson
Paths to peace are as varied as the numbers of people who willingly enjoy its calling. We who carry peace and try to practice it are conservative and radical, religious, spiritual, and nonreligious. We yearn for safety for our children, our parents, cousins, neighbors and grandparents. There is room for everyone. Most likely you, the reader, play a part in this “we.” Welcome to these pages!
The Peace Vigil in Kennett Square began when a small group of Quakers were moved to express a hope that Peace would continue to be a golden thread in the lives of many – a hope that Peace would not go out of sight totally, while U.S. bombs began dropping in Afghanistan. The Twin Towers came down on September 11, 2001. U.S. bombing of Afghanistan began October 7, 2001. London Grove Friends Meeting Peace Committee met October 17, 2001, and the committee members agreed to explore how they could initiate a Peace Vigil. The Peace Vigil in Kennett Square began Friday, December 14, 2001, and the Vigil has taken place nearly every Friday for over ten years, and is still ongoing at this writing.
In June 2010 the war in Afghanistan became the U.S.’s longest war (if U.S. involvement in the Viet Nam War is measured from 8/7/64 to 3/73). A 2010 estimate of the total cost of deploying one U.S. soldier in Afghanistan for one year is over $1 million dollars. A phrase well publicized by Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) is “War is Not the Answer.” More telling is a letter written by FCNL in 2011, which stated, War is not the Answer; We are the answer. With that in mind, the oral histories of people of many backgrounds who have vigiled for significant lengths of time at the Peace Vigil in Kennett Square are gathered here. These histories are collected to offer stories, ideas and inspiration to all readers, young and older, inquirers and experienced activists.
You may have heard that in some cultures the concept of “peace” is closely related to the concept of “beauty.” This is so in the Navajo language, and others. The combined concept embraces a sense of balance, where parts or individuals are related to the others and to the whole in a harmonious manner. All parts interrelate and interact, and truth becomes evident. That which emerges is a harmonious peace, rather than a peace where the other side is conquered, killed off, or missing. A harmonious, true peace is at the heart of the Peace Vigil in Kennett Square.
As A.J. Muste (1885-1967) stood in front of the White House in a candlelight Vigil for peace during the Viet Nam War, he is quoted as saying, “I don’t do this to change the country. I do this so the country won’t change me.” Perhaps a few vigilers also hope to change the minds and hearts of a neighbor or two. We wish each reader some joy and new images, while perusing these pages. May you be calmed, find nourishment and be refreshed.