Submitted by Nancy Asbedian
Today is 9/11, but it’s 2014, and last night our President announced his plan for dealing with ISIS.
As I approached Bedford Common around 7 am this morning, I saw the American flag at half-staff. It seemed lower and sadder than on the many previous times that Bedford has mourned publicly. This was indeed a joyless morning. The flag and the President’s statement weighed heavily on me..
The Bedford Citizens for Peace slowly gathered for our regular peace vigil.
We displayed signs stating
Speak Out for Peace
War is not the Answer
Honk for Peace
War is Expensive, Peace is Priceless
PACE, printed on a rainbow flag
The weather was appropriately cloudy and damp, well-suited to my mood. And the response from commuters racing by was overwhelming silence. What could have been a symphony of supportive “Honks for Peace” on this day of remembrance was just the opposite.
I looked down Great Road toward the mournful flag sagging in front of the fire station and glimpsed our diligent members. All of us are Senior Citizens trying desperately to create a response from drivers who were balancing coffee and cell phones. (And incidentally, how DO they do that?)
Are commuters aware of the significance of 9/11? What, if anything, does it mean to them? Did they even hear the President’s message last night? What are they thinking as they pass by? Some stare rigidly ahead, avoiding our eyes…Others seem to glare back in disagreement.
Many times our group has tried desperately to grow our numbers and to urge younger folks to join us in vain. We have found no one to whom we can pass our torch for peace…
We are tired…
Then I watched a gentleman driving a tan van “flash” a police car to allow him to turn in front of him in the intersection…then he honked, waved and smiled at us! Amazing! One kind and caring person appeared and the mood changed and the silence broke. Others followed and the honking began. The day became a success.
Over the years of our vigil we have witnessed many rude and crude gestures and comments, but the goodness of people has always prevailed. One woman driving by said, ” I am a nurse at the VA. I see the devastating results of war every day. Keep up the good work.” Her words still sustain me.
Why do we continue? Because we can — in memory of those who gave us that right. Because we hope that those who honk agree with us and perhaps those who don’t honk might think about why they don’t.
Buses filled with Bedford students stare as they pass by. Perhaps they are still waking up, or perhaps they are so absorbed in their cell phones that they don’t see. But occasionally one will smile or wave; perhaps we have planted a seed here or there.
As the clock on Bedford Common strikes 8, we all agree. We will be back.
Editor’s note: This group has held a peace vigil along Bedford Common between 7:15 and 8 am for more than 10 years. Residents who would like more information are invited to email The Bedford Citizen (email@example.com) and we will forward your message to the organizers.