Monday, February 17, 2014

Fountain Valley (Orange County), California
Friday, February 14

Make Love Not War” was the theme of our Valentines Day event in Fountain Valley in notoriously conservative Orange County, between San Diego and Los Angeles. Forty people enjoyed good food, drink, poetry and live music at the home of Marselle and Carol.

The event was organized by Pat Alviso and Jeff Merrick of Military Families Speak Out. Jeff is a VFP member who was in the Air Force for twenty years. Pat and Jeff have a son who is in the Marines and has been deployed five times to the U.S. occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. They were also generous enough to house us where we met "Chewy" the peace tortoise

Activists from the Orange County Peace Coalition and the Long Beach Area Peace Network turned out for the event, and several members of Veterans For Peace participated.

Keith Gawith, chapter president of Orange County VFP 110, welcomed us with a poem. Vietnam veteran Horace Coleman, a dual member of VFP 110 and VFP 67 in Long Beach/San Pedro, also read a powerful antiwar poem.

Presentations by Alex, Malachi and Meike, aided by a slide show of the three GI cafes, were much appreciated. Donations at the door and two raffles made for good fundraising. We thank all for their generous donations.

If you were unable to attend, you are still able to make a tax-deductible donation here.

Below is a poem  performed by Horace Coleman we where honored to meet

When? Where? Why? by Horace Coleman 
US Air Force 1965-1970 Vietnam 1967-1968
Vietnam Veterans Against War
Veterans For Peace
Military Families Speak out

When? Where? Why?
When your Child´s away in the fray
(wars 1,000s of miles away)
Days have 40 Hours. Fear and hope
From a moat that clogs your throat.
You don´t want a knock at the door
Shaking the floor. Or call about
The IED explosion that chose them
To never dance again.

And all the while you hope they´ll
Never choke on land mine/IED smoke. Or,
An RPG round knocks them down forever.
A motar might make them
Chortle at being mortal.

It could be a sniper who´s the piper.
Friendly fire can be the wire that trips them.
So many ways last seconds might beckon.

But you smile____or laugh___at the memory of:
Their first solo bike ride.
The best player trophy.
Drawings on the refrigerator.

The home coming hugs say
More than spoken words.

You don´t even mind unseen wounds ( at first);
A clueless nation or Chicken Hawk neighbors.
You learn your offspring´s new needs
And help them get back up to speed.
You don´t want a survivor
Who dies from suicide.

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