VFP 132 sponsors Corvallis “Veterans Suicide Awareness Month” proclamation

Corvallis, Oregon Mayor Biff Traber proclaims March “Veterans Suicide Awareness Month.”

Recognizing the role that two centuries of US militarism have played in creating generation after generation of veterans who fall victim to suicide, Veterans For Peace wants to raise awareness of this underlying cause of over twenty veteran suicides committed every single day in the United States.

We understand suicide is the last remaining means of coping with the violence, horrors, and guilt many veterans internalize while “serving their country.”

The proclamation stated, in part:

“the pervasive culture of militarism in the United States and the ensuing effects on veterans and their families can be partly mitigated through early peace education, nonviolence training, and shifting scarce resources from making war to providing healing and reconciliation programs for the community of veterans; ….”

Mayor Traber read and presented the proclamation to VFP 132 members, Joel Inman and Denis White, at the March 4, 2019 meeting of the Corvallis City Council. Several VFP 132 members along with other veterans and supporters attended the meeting.

Former US Navy member Joel Inman commented while receiving the proclamation, “the danger of battle has not passed when vets return home.”

The original proclamation was originally offered by Eli Smith who has traveled the country, most as a pilgrimage on foot, to heighten awareness about this issue. City counselor Bill Glassmire, also a member of VFP 132, brought the proclamation draft to our attention and helped it reach the mayor’s desk.

If you or a family member is struggling to cope with depression, PTSD, or other precursors to suicide, please get help immediately from your local medical facilities or by calling the suicide prevention hotline, 1-800-273-8255, or by visiting https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ for more information.

For more recent news about how the “Defense” Department is trying to cope with this epidemic, see also, https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2019/03/05/the-new-plan-to-prevent-veteran-suicides-new-grants-better-research-more-community-focus/

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Corvallis Film screening, discussion–Abolish Nuclear Weapons!

Historic Sailboat Project Supports UN Treaty to Ban Nuclear Weapons.

When: Friday, February 1, 7pm – 9pm

Where: First United Methodist Church – Room 219, 1165 NW Monroe Ave, Corvallis

Sailing vessel Golden Rule crew member and Golden Rule Project Ambassador, Zoe Byrd, will show the 25-minute documentary, “Making Waves: Rebirth of the Golden Rule” about four Quaker peace activists, led by Navy veteran Albert Bigelow, who in 1958 tried to sail to the Marshall Islands to stop nuclear bomb tests. The boat sank in 2010 and was rebuilt in Humboldt Bay, California. The Golden Rule, a Project of Veterans For Peace, is now “Sailing for a Nuclear-Free World and a Peaceful, Sustainable Future”.

Making Waves filmmaker, James Seamus Knight, will be attending and will also screen his documentary short, “Holy Week: The Story of the 2016 Sacred Peace Walk.”

VFP Chapter 132 member Dr. Linda Marie Richards, OSU School of History, Philosophy and Religion will also speak.

S/V Golden Rule, 1958

Byrd, Knight, and Dr. Richards, all participated in the Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament, a nine and half month walk from LA to DC in 1986. The three will answer questions and discuss nuclear abolition with the audience following the films.

Hosted by Veterans For Peace, Linus Pauling Chapter, Corvallis, the FUMC Make Peace / Faith in Action Team, and the OSU School of History, Philosophy and Religion.

The event is free and the public is welcome. Donations will be gladly accepted for the Golden Rule Project.

For more info on the Golden Rule Project: http://www.vfpgoldenruleproject.org/

Please note: There will also be an OSU campus event featuring the same films and speakers on February 1, 3:30pm, in Milam Hall, Room 319.

Please share and invite: https://www.facebook.com/events/2256988364577531/

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Linus Pauling Chapter Armistice Day 2018 Forum: “Confronting Imperialism”

On the 100th anniversary of the armistice ending World War I…

VFP Linus Pauling Chapter joined the local chapter of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) to host a public forum for Armistice Day, “Confronting Imperialism.”

The November 11, 2018 event drew fifty five people from a wide range of political views and groups.

The objective was not to review the long history of US imperialism but to discuss various strategies to confront imperialism, colonialism, and militarism. We enjoyed a lively discussion of everything from revolutionary direct action to foreign policy advocacy to international solidarity.

The strong turnout from students, members of DSA, and the local Communist Party (CPUSA) group was very refreshing. They helped stimulate conversations not normally heard among the usual peacenik “choir” here, while emphasizing the connections between imperialism, violence in our streets, non-state actor blowback, and environmental degradation. These partnerships with our chapter will continue for future public education and radical activism.

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How veteran Kurt Vonnegut saw Armistice Day

“I will come to a time in my backwards trip when November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day. When I was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one and another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.
Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ day is not.
So I will throw Veterans’ Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep.
I don’t want to throw away any sacred things.”

–from Vonnegut’s, Breakfast of Champions, 1973

Kurt Vonnegut during WWII

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VFP & DSA to host WWI Armistice Centennial Forum: Confronting Imperialism

Please share this event on Facebook and with your friends.

We need to #ReclaimArmisticeDay.

Of particular importance is the need to share this with and invite other groups you wouldn’t normally associate with anti-war, anti-imperialist work, e.g., NAACP, 350.org, faith-based social justice groups. All of our issues are very much intertwined because they are all rooted in the same capitalist system.

This is one reason VFP has adopted the catch phrase, “Peace at home; peace abroad.” The militarism reflected in our foreign policy is closely associated with the militarist policing of our streets and a big reason why we can’t address climate change, to name just two of the intersections.

Here’s the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1789526231158435/

And here are the fliers, in case you feel motivated to print a few to take to meetings or wherever–There’s also a screen shot of the flier below:

Full page: https://www.dropbox.com/s/4o5cmdh5x7x9ftw/ArmDay2018VFPDSAFull.pdf?dl=0

1/4 page: https://www.dropbox.com/s/hdfv1d5kup1gsqs/ArmDay2018VFPDSAQtr.pdf?dl=0

We are co-hosting this with the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and they, particularly their Anti-Imperialism Working Group, helped plan and advertise the event.

Thanks and we’ll see you on Nov. 11.

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World Beyond War Exclusive: Armistice Day, Not Weapons Day — Everything You Need for November 10th and 11th

“Must read” is over-used…but you’ve got to see this from World Beyond War.

The graphic alone is worth an extra click and some time reading a great (brief) piece by David Swanson.

Here’s the opening, but head over to the WBW site and check it out ASAP:

A few days after an over-hyped white supremacist rally in Washington, D.C., was massively outnumbered by people opposed to racism, and one day after 187 organizations (more than that now) publicly committed to turning out people to counter Donald Trump’s planned weapons parade with a parade for peace in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, and less than a day after the U.S. military said the weapons parade would now cost $92 million (which in fairness is a legitimate rounding up from the earlier estimate of $12 million according to the rules of Pentagon math), the parade of death and war profiteering….

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VFP 132 Member Seeks Ways to Serve Locally

Our local free independent weekly, The Corvallis Advocate, recently published a compilation of interviews with local folks, called Meet Your Neighbors.

One of our VFP chapter members, Dennis Stillwaggon, shared some thoughts on serving the community and with Veterans For Peace. For example, Dennis has worked for many years on restoring and maintaining the historic Whiteside Theater in Corvallis, an amazing venue for community events.

Dennis Stillwaggon


Which branch of the military did you serve in, and what was your job?  When was that?

Navy, Electrician’s Mate (Reactor), 1972-1974.

Did you live in Corvallis before you went into the Navy?

I visited a few times – my grandmother was a Housemother at OSU and I stayed with her as a child sometimes.  My Dad was Navy so we traveled all around.  I arrived here in 1976 to go to school.  I wanted to study alternative energy.

Can you think of a way that your status as a veteran affects the way you think about being a neighbor?

It’s part of my public service motives, it’s why I volunteer for various community organizations.  There’s a sense of duty that you carry with you no matter where you serve or what you do as a civilian.

Are there ways that your neighbors treat you differently when they know you’re a veteran?

Some people attach their patriotic feelings to you because you give a tangible character to them.  Some people – very few – are disdainful.  Mostly people are appreciative of public service, much as with my relatives who are in the Fire Department. I’ve been present at the peace vigil at the Courthouse – about half the people who stand out there are veterans, and I also work the Veterans for Peace booth at the Benton County Fair. [emphasis added]  Sometimes I get negative reactions to that.  But I think most people are just appreciative of what you’ve done.

By John M. Burt (Corvallis Advocate reporter)

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