Three years. It's an inauspicious anniversary. We held a vigil on the Quad today - next to the flag pole and the First Amendment plaque. It was cold and overcast. An appropriate cast for the day.
Others mark this anniversary. A friend on the West Coast sent me a message about their three years of Thursday vigils:
Subject: How I Spent the 3rd Anniversary ...
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2006 20:12:56 -0800
HOW I SPENT THE 3RD ANNIVERSARY OF THIS FUCKING WAR ON IRAQ
Or WHAT IT'S LIKE WHEN THE RATIO OF SIGNS TO BODIES AT A VIGIL APPROACHES 6 TO 1...IN FAVOR OF THE SIGNS
Or IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY (AND WINDY) NIGHT ...
Or A TALE OF 'FUCKING COMMIES' WHO SHOULD 'GO BACK TO RUSSIA' (?)
Now I know what it must feel like to celebrate your wedding anniversary at the drive-thru window at McDonalds.
There is a war still on in Iraq, right? The nation is still being plunged into bankruptcy to pay for it, right? The Baghdad morgue is still choked with the bodies of Iraqis who have met their ends in godawful ways, right? The roadside bomb building business is still thriving over there, right? Our troops (or what pieces are left of them) are still being shipped home in body bags, right?
Well, search me if you'd have known it tonight. We started out with 2 vigilers. Then the ranks swelled to 4. Then one more showed up... but 2 had to leave. So what remained for the whole last hourwas the Three Musketeers: me, XXXXX and XXXXX. Our number could barely have warmed the nearby manhole cover, much less the entire length of curb along the park frontage.
Five vigilers ... 30 signs. Do the math.
The wind was cold and brisk again this week, whipping the signs around and leaving askew the ones I couldn't pushed deep enough into the ground. And the sky looked like death ... clouds the color of lead scudding overhead, shrouding the setting sun.
Worse, the passing motorists were like zombies ... glassy-eyed zombies with eyes pointed straight ahead and cell phones glued to their faces. Some of them even had middle fingers pointed, too ... straight up in the air on the ends of arms extended out the drivers' side windows. From one passing vehicle a woman's voice passionately cried, "I LOVE GEORGE BUSH! I LOVE GEORGE BUSH!"
Now there's a statement fit to gag a maggot.
Yes, the Three Musketeers hung in there till the end, at which point we barely got the signs collected and stowed before the heavens opened up and just let 'er rip. A fitting end to the vigil meant to mark the 3rd anniversary of one of the biggest tactical blunders and moral atrocities ever committed by the United States of America.
Before we drove our separate ways, we hugged and said to each other "Happy Anniversary, Dear" in deadpan tones.
Happy Anniversary, Iraq. May you never, ever, ever have another like it.
I know very well how my friend feels.
My colleague starts at 12:30 p.m. He carries a small American flag and his old (but constantly updated) sign: "Mourning in America, 2315". I join him a few minutes before 1:00 p.m. with my "...one nation, under surveillance" sign.
It's been a while. That little man's supporters don't come by to taunt us. We do get a few friends and supporters stopping by. After a long conversation one says, commenting on our sad times, "It's like the guilded age, only without any of the fun..."
It's cold and overcast. Bleak. For most of the vigil we're on our own. My colleague tells me that he does this for himself now. He has to bear witness. I reply that I'm out here for the same reason - my silence would mean consent. Evidently, we're both stubborn, too.
On Sunday we'll join the protest vigil at the J.C. Nichols fountain in the park at 47th and Main in Kansas City. The weather is supposed to be cold, just above freezing, with rain. A fitting cast for the day.
Later that afternoon I am downtown at a coffee house. The waitress asks me, "Were you standing on the Quad with a sign? Something about surveillance? What was that about?" I reply, "The Fourth Amendment doesn't exist anymore." After a few seconds, realizing that she didn't understand what I had just said, I continued, "It's against the war and the administration." She shrugs and returns to her chores.
Happy anniversary, indeed.
posted at the moon's favors