Jacquelyn Harris, Nurse

For the Military Men in Her Life

Plaque Quote: I saw the men, my father and his friends, come home from war different. These military men had pain that they hid, sometimes in abuse, alcoholism, and other ways. They all died early, leaving their children and their wives with scars that still aren’t healed, leaving much too soon, often misunderstood, but always always honored. Being a child, sometimes you ask (cause you can’t really understand), “Why is Daddy gone and why doesn’t he come back the same?”

How can we beat swords into plowshares?

So what’s this war for? That’s the question. What is it really accomplishing and who really pays? So my thoughts about war are–takes a lot of people, a lot of lives, touches a lot of people, uses a lot of money and resources that we could do a lot of other things with. And it takes more than a lifetime to rebuild. Not just a country, but a family. We’ve seen the damages and I shudder to think of this next generation not just post-9/11, but post-Afghanistan, post-all the wars that are going on all over the world that we don’t even talk about. So we’ve gotta make a change.

For Great-Uncle Percy Fletcher (Gassed During WWI)

This is my great-uncle, Percy Fletcher, and he was gassed during the First World War. He returned from the war and, unfortunately, because he was gassed, his two daughters died very young. They were only two and three years old when they both died. I know that he wasn’t the same man when he came back and he died quite young as well.

How can we beat swords into plowshares?

I think we’re warring peoples. I think there will always be conflict. Unfortunately, I think in the end, we’ll destroy ourselves. I try not to think about that too much ‘cause I’ve got children, I’ve got grandchildren. I like to think going forward, they will live in a peaceful world, but I can’t see it.

Tom Baker, NCSU Student Veteran Plaque: “Iraq War Mistake.”

I served there in 2009 and 2010. Really, the only way to sum it up is, it was a mistake. We shouldn’t be there right now. I think that people in this country need to pay more attention to what our government’s doing.

The main problem is that the AUMF (Authorization for the Use of Military Force) is very broad in scope…essentially, it’s just kind of a warrant for endless war.

How can we beat swords into plowshares?

The stuff that’s occurring in the United States right now…it’s a symptom of the war and how much money we’ve spent on that which is–what?–five something trillion dollars now since 9/11. So, pay attention to that. If you really want to thank a veteran, work to get Congress to rescind that authorization so we can start focusing on what’s going on here at home.

Paul Appell, Vietnam Veteran exposed to Agent Orange

(For PFC Aaron Barnes- exposed to depleted uranium munitions in Iraq)

I never met him when he was alive. The Army kicked him out because they said his weight was fluctuating, but they said there was nothing wrong with him. His mother held a fundraiser, so he could go to a private doctor. And it turned out that he had a very rare liver cancer that had metastasized throughout his body. [His mother’s] biggest regret was that she couldn’t yell at the Army and VA for how they had abandoned him.

(During the Vietnam war) I had to tell a mother that her only son was killed. I still feel every blow to the chest that she gave me. When I had one of my men killed in Vietnam, I felt those blows again. And then when another neighbor’s son was killed, I also felt it. And it still tells me the same thing: waste, waste, waste.

One of my legacies of Vietnam is I’m sterile. I’m so thankful that I don’t need to worry about passing on to [my] offspring. When you sign up for the military, unfortunately, you also sign up your family members. It affects way more people than just the combatant.

Appell_Paul (4).JPG

How can we beat swords into plowshares?

The easiest way is to prevent war veterans. The military is the biggest polluter in the world, by far, the U.S. military. …Every cent we pay to the military is not worth it. It makes us less secure and destroys the world. Destroys our lives. The people that profit from that, the military industrial complex, need to pay up. Agent Orange, depleted uranium. All of this is very expensive. Bottom line is that they can’t clean it all up, but at least they can do some things. The key thing is not to just completely keep destroying the earth.

Except for time spent away for school and the military, I’ve spent my life on a farm. For me, I probably wouldn’t be here [after Vietnam] if I had not been on the farm. There’s something about working with the land.

DC Memorial Weekend Installation – Visit and Volunteer!

We need YOU to come to DC this weekend to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial and our own touring memorial, The Swords to Plowshares Belltower, which will be set up nearby, with VFP volunteers keeping watch 24/7 from Saturday morning through Monday night! map

On Memorial Day morning, for the third year running, Veterans For Peace from around the country will be delivering ‘Letters to The Wall’ (http://vietnamfulldisclosure.org/index.php/memorial-day-event-2018/) which many tourists will read and which will be entered in the historical archives. Afterwards we will hold a Peace Ceremony at the Korean War. Here is Monday’s schedule:

0930 Gather at the Belltower

1030 Step off: Deliver 2018 Letters to The Wall

1145 Regroup at the Belltower

1200 Step off for short slow processional to the Korean War Memorial
1210 Peace Ceremony at Korean War Memorial

1300 Regroup at the Belltower

1400 Group Lunch at Busboys & Poets (location TBA)

The next day, Tuesday, the Poor People’s Campaign’s theme will be:

The War Economy: Militarism and the Proliferation of Gun Violence

  • 10am – Nonviolent Direct Action Training, St Marks Episcopal Church, 301 A St SE
  • 2pm – Rally, US Capitol Lawn
  • 7:30pm – Teach-In Tuesdays, The Festival Center, 1640 Columbia Rd NW

WE NEED YOUR HELP and can even provide free overnight accommodations at the Belltower night-watch tent (if you can stay up for a night shift) or at the historic William Penn House, a Quaker boarding house at the other end of the mall on Capitol Hill. We are also in urgent need of people to help with the noble labor of unloading the Belltower trailer on Friday night at 9 pm, setting up on Saturday morning (beginning at 7 am), night watch at the Belltower security tent through Monday night, and breakdown on Monday night and Tuesday morning.

If you are planning to come, or even considering it, please contact Machai St. Rain at (919) 537-9089, Roger Ehrlich at (919) 696-5995, or Becky Luening at (503) 616-2532.

This will help us tremendously in our planning and scheduling and we can help with navigation, parking and other logistics!  We need YOU!

Thanks for joining us! As we build this website, we hope we can include your stories and your ideas! We hope you will watch our short intro video and then contact us and share some information about yourself. Then we hope we can work together to raise awareness about the costs of war on ALL sides and increase discussion about ways we can heal, and prevent future trauma. Lets unite to ‘Beat Swords into Plowshares!’  Please send an email to stpbelltower2018@gmail.com for more information.