A Memorable Memorial Day

Many many thanks to everyone who contributed to making VFP Chapter 72′s “People’s Peace Park Picnic” a great success. (Click here to view photo album.) ALL who turned out played a part, but we would like to take this opportunity to name a few names…

First of all, we want to thank all the musicians who came and contributed their fine voices to the cause of peace—Camilla Rose; Karyn Ann Patridge; George Neidhart (a.k.a. Grandpa Wally, a Korean vet who, besides being willing to come strum his banjo, also provided key encouragement and advice to organizers ahead of time); Larry Lotz; and our own Grant Remington, past president of VFP Chapter 72.

“Yesterday was among the best events we’ve hosted at the Park, and we’ve been doing it for seven years.  There was such a strong feeling of family, as well as of peace, and of all those we gathered to remember—and the musicians had a big part in creating and sustaining that sensation.”

—VFP Chapter 72 outgoing president Chris Knight

Love and gratitude to Portland artist Nancy Hiss and her husband Dan Berkman for chalking “Peace” in many languages around the Peace Memorial Park’s peace sign circle, a creative act which has become a Memorial Day tradition. (Thanks to the gods for bringing sunshine to the park to facilitate  the chalking as well as a really wonderful picnic atmosphere.)

Love and gratitude to Portland artist Sara Kirschenbaum for bringing her cool car and the book containing her 100 Letters for Peace project, for which her car serves as Letter #100.

Love and gratitude to Portland artist Carye Bye for mentioning the Peace Memorial Park in her Circle Portland edition of “Hidden Portland” guides.

We also want to acknowledge the VFP members who organized this first of what we hope may become an annual Peace Memorial park event: Becky Luening for the spark of an idea and for making the flyer and helping with promotion; Dan Shea for coordinating musicians and helping with social media outreach; Malcolm Chaddock for arranging for the generator, and generally making himself available to pick up the slack; Sarah Hobbs for inviting photographer Tyler Austin to the event; Chris Knight for providing and helping set up the sound system as well as canopy, tables, and chairs, and for managing all this during the event; and to Bob Projansky for creating and bringing a special sign to help explain the Peace Memorial Park’s raison d’être.

And MANY MANY THANKS to all the volunteers who have been turning out, month after month, to transform the park from an annual to perennial garden while keeping on top of the mulch, the weeds, the watering, etc. If you want to learn more about this special project of VFP Chapter 72, click here.

Organizers were pleased with the turnout, though modest, and in response to all the positive feedback, hope to build on this event for a second People’s Peace Park Picnic on Memorial Day 2015. (Promises have already been made to arrange for a porta-potty next year.)

Last but not least… Special thanks to the picknickers (you know who you are) who were moved to share personal stories and feelings at Monday’s gathering. We urge you all to continue to raise your voices to call out the true nature of war and to engage in creative actions that help foster movement toward peace and reconciliation, and greater recognition of our interdependence and common humanity.

YouTube videos captured by Dan Shea at the MEMORIAL DAY 2014 People’s Peace Park Picnic hosted by Veterans For Peace chapter 72. Musicians, artists, veterans and friends gathered to memorialize all victims of war, and raise our voices in songs of peace and healing in the spirit of the late great Pete Seeger.


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