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Vigil marks anniversary of war in Iraq
MARYSVILLE As the Iraq war marked its fifth anniversary, area residents gathered to commemorate the event with a peace vigil at Come-ford Park in Marysville.
With small votive candles in hand on the chilly night of March 19, a group of about 50 peace supporters congregated in small groups, sharing stories of how the war has touched them or the lives of someone they know.
This is not a protest, Kathryn Scott, one of several organizers, said prior to the event. We want this to be a quiet, somber evening.
And thats almost exactly what happened. There were a few signs, but no chanting, no outspoken protests.
One person told the story of a family member who served in a past war, whose memories were reawakened by the prosecution of a new war. Speakers criticized President Bush, several suggesting the war budget would be better spent boosting the countrys sagging economy.
The groups also read aloud from accounts of soldiers or their families as submitted to MoveOn.org, the online political group that helped organize the Marysville rally and ones like it across the country.
Smokey Point resident Susie Wight, a minister at Bothells Community of Christ Church, attended the rally with her husband. Wight said she has been active in the been active in the peace movement since the Vietnam War when she lived in New York. After moving to this area, shes been more involved with the Seattle political scene before getting word of the gathering in Marysville.
She came to the vigil, she said, because this is the first time I heard of one here. I want a voice in it. I want our kids home. I want our economy in some semblance of order. Theres so much need here.
From her perspective as a religious leader, she added that she was disappointed in the way political leaders used Christianity to justify their policies.
I think Jesus was an activist, she said. He didnt stand for war, he stood for peace.
After the groups broke down into smaller conversations, discussions frequently turned to politics and the race for the Democratic partys presidential nomination.
Wights husband, Dean, added that during the recent primary elections, what became clear to him is that the war has become extremely unpopular.
At the caucuses, there were a wide range of people opposed to the war, he said.
Tulalip resident Francine Inslee said she attended the vigil to measure the local support for the peace movement.
Afterward, she said she was disappointed in the turnout among young people. Organizers later attributed their small showing to the more middle-aged constituency of MoveOn.org, that publicized the event through their e-mail list.
Im glad to see them showing up in Seattle, she said.