Protest at Edwards Airforce Base

October 7 2000

from: Toni Flynn [toniflynn@earthlink.net]

We showed up. We were 8 in number. We unrolled a 17 foot banner that said: "PEACE ON EARTH AND IN SPACE"

We were positioned next to the AFB entrance sign which said: WELCOME TO EDWARDS AIRFORCE BASE ... WARRIORS SUPPORTING WARRIORS.

Some of us held the sign. Others of us knelt down with our Rosary Beads. Together we recited the Mysteries of the Rosary. It took an hour. A stranger who had chastised me over the phone yesterday had a change of heart and showed up to stand in solidarity with us.

A military person in camoflage approached us, introduced himself, and left. A car full of teenage boys pulled in, stopped, rolled down the window, and yelled: You guys are cool. Peace rules. Then they drove off waving. A young man later drove up, got out, said that he worked on base, but was a Catholic. I gave him my rosary beads. He said he would give them to his wife for a keepsake. He also told me that everyone at the Base was e-mailed about our 'protest'. Both the Captain I spoke with yesterday and this young man asked me, " Do you have a man named Bradford Mumford in your group?" Who is Bradford Mumford? We all wondered who this guy could be that the Base was so concerned. He was not in our group. We don't know anything about him. Interesting.

At 4 pm, we left and drove back to our respective homes.

There was a small newsarticle this morning which quoted Bruce. No one from the press showed up at our vigil. We, however, took many photos and also have some footage on a video. We feel good about our day. I'm tired. I couldn't sleep last night so I stayed up until 4 AM watching "War and Peace" on video. I'll sleep tonight.

PRESS RELEASE:

THE HIGH DESERT CATHOLIC WORKER & FRIENDS are here today, October 7, 2000, at Edwards Airforce Base to pray the Rosary for Peace on the Feast Day of Our Lady of the Rosary. We know we are small in number, but nonetheless, we showed up. We chose today as our vigil day so that we might join others who are gathering throughout the world for an International Day of Protest to Stop the Militarization of Space.

We, as members, friends, and supporters of the Catholic Worker Movement, believe in the God of Peace. We practice non-violence as a way of life. Most days, we are working with the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, the dying, the hungry. Some days, like this day, we show up to say NO to the planning of war, the preparation for war, the weapons of war. We are convinced that nations cannot simultaneously practice the ways of war and create peace. The earth and its people have suffered enough from the effects of warmaking. Now our nation is making efforts to extend human warfare into the heavens.

We are here to stand vigil at the entrance to Edwards Airforce Base, a testing facility for war planes and space weaponry, and to bend down on our knees and pray for peace on earth and in space.

We are here to ask the question, 'When will we stop expanding our death machines, our nuclear weapons? When will we change our primitive thinking that war is a solution to anything lasting and worthy?'

We are here to pray for transformation of hearts within ourselves, our community, the military personnel and other staff who work at this Base, that we may see the wisdom found in turning swords into ploughshares, in leaving the heavens to God, and in restoring the earth to peacefulness; that we may become teachers and mentors of peace, using our technology and our talents for peaceful solutions to conflict, oppression, injustice, and poverty rather than to waste these capabilities on war machines and destructive actions against our fellow humans, our earth, our universe.

We may look foolish to others. Our small numbers and our prayers may seem insignificant in the shadow of a military facility and the power and authority that facility represents. We don't care how we may appear. We are here to pray to our God for peace. If not now, when? If not here, where? If not us, who?



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