I am still on my corner in Patchogue|
It's sacred ground
A place where the names are read
Just last week, the third massacred soldier from Brentwood. He has a Spanish surname. The rich are not fighting this war. They send the recruiters to our working class and poor neighborhoods to pluck our children, eighteen, nineteen, twenty before they've had a chance to evaluate what life is; they are gone.
We are still here, and we see cars cruising by on Sunday in the dark as our candles flicker. Only a few obscenities supporting the greater one. Many more waves, honks and two thank you's for what you are doing. This week a heartfelt thank you, a smile and a wave. We had twenty at vigil this week, our candles placed on the ground and clutched in chilly hands.
They chose me to read the Iraqi counterpoint of names this week. It is amazing what a little linguistic training will do. The names rolled too comfortably off my tongue. Names gleaned from the press and the Body Count, some ages of babies.
These tender Muslim babies are like armor to those deluded teenagers who yell Kill them all. One foot across the swearing in line, maybe or perhaps they have absorbed from their parents the transparent-fragile device of urging kills and staying as far away from war as possible as they send the Brentwood young of color to die, hoping for a future.
We are still here on our corner, my friends and I as I think of Jacob Fletcher, nineteen, and Salima, five years old swept away. Our earth's children swept away in a honk and an epithet.
We will be standing on this corner until the killing is over, and snatches of the music on car radios become loud and joyous songs of peace.
Susan McKeon-Steinmann 58 years old Long Island NY I am a person who fought against the war in Vietnam for years and years and years. All this time I have written on old paper bags, napkins, leaflet othersides. Whatever was handy. It was my writing that kept me focused. Someday, it will not be a dream: there will be peace in the world because the evolved people of the world will not allow war.