Aug. 9 Vigil and Line Crossing at STRATCOM
8 Minute Youtube clip of statements at the line and the line crossing.
The four Catholic peace activist in their own words. A MOST SEE!!!!
Nonpareil, Council Bluffs IA, Aug 10, 2010 "Navy veteran protests on bomb anniversary"
This year’s 3 ½ day vigil at the STRATCOM gate started with a Mass and pot luck dinner at the Omaha CW Thursday night Aug. 5th. Fr Bert Thelen, SJ was our celebrant. Fr Bert is the pastor of
One could rightly say that this year’s vigil truly was done in a spirit of penance, if the heat of the days is factored in. We started off on a typical hot day on Friday Aug. 6, with the temperature in the mid 90’s; the temps and humidity got progressively hotter each day. On our last day of vigiling the heat index reached well over 100 degrees.
At times it felt like we were in a Lakota Indian Sweat without a lodge. Plenty of breaks were taken and water consumed. Throughout the first three days friends and supporters came out to visit and encourage us. We reached the critical double digit mark of people at the vigil on Saturday, Aug 7th. (See attached photo) The
The interactions between we protesters and the Offutt security officers remained cordial throughout the entire vigil, with the officers regularly making certain we were holding up well in the heat, and had enough water to drink.
THE WITNESS AND LINE CROSSING:
Before the vigil two, long-time
Fr. Jack last 'crossed the line' on Dec, 28, 2005. After being found guilty of trespass in
So the word went out that Fr. Jack and Mark were planning on crossing the line again.
Then after the Mass at the
The following day, Saturday, Fr. Jack let it be known that his friend Charlie Wolford, a Catholic Deacon from
Now the number of line crossers was four and a buzz was going around about their planned crossings. By the time of the closing ceremony on Monday Aug. 9th at 11 a.m. over 30 gathered at the main entrance of Offutt AFB to be support for the four. Kudos go to Mike Sprong and Dagmar Hoxsie from the Yankton CW who came the furthest to be on hand.
The temps and humidity were on the rise and Monday’s forecast was no different than Sunday’s, where the heat index reached well over 100 degrees. In our pre-witness talk on Monday morning with Offutt Security people we told them that we wanted to do the closing ceremony and line crossing in as short a time as possible because of the heat and the age of the line crossers and their supporters. I told the officers that this year we were honoring our elders in the movement and wanted to give them a chance to speak their truths and put their bodies on the line with their convictions.
The actual witness and line crossing was simple and short. At 11:00 am we all gathered in the exit lane of the entrance drive, between Offutt’s property line and the public road. Offutt Security re-directed traffic to give us the lane. A song, “Go Be Justice” was sung by some thirty protesters now present at the vigil. And than the four line crossers stepped forward and each gave their statement.
Fr. Jack was first, and began his statement by emphasizing how he has always valued his consistent life ethic, his ‘womb-to-tomb’ approach to social justice. He shared that he had recently joined his Archbishop and fellow
of a true pro-life activist.
Peg spoke next and her message was simple, “Let’s stop all these useless wars and bring our military people back home.” At 92 years of age, Peg possesses a perspective that few of us do. She has spent the better part of her adult life as a peacemaker protesting USA-led wars, all of them human failures with little gained and much lost in life and resources.
Charlie was next to speak. He had a prepared statement. He spoke of his visit to
The last to speak was Mark. At 53 yrs old, he was the youngest of the four by 28 years! His message was the simplest of them all. He was holding a processional crucifix. He looked to the crucifix and said, “Our Faith is in the crucified Lord and no one else. No one who believes in Jesus can ever justify the possession or use of any nuclear weapons. Wars are never an option for a follower of Jesus in solving human conflicts.”
When Mark was done, and all the speakers had made their statements, a simple Our Father was prayed by all as the four Catholic peacemakers then proceeded to cross the property line onto Offutt AFB, walked about ten steps onto the base, and were then greeted by Offutt Security personal, placed in vans and taken to the main guard house up the drive. All four were processed and released within the hour. We now await word from the
For updates and follow through contact:
Jerry Ebner, Mike Brennan
402- 502- 5887
Phil Berrigan CW House
(515) 490-2490 www.DesMoinesCatholicWorker.org Frank.Cordaro@gmail.com
Donations can be sent to the
"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs
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