'Peace is patriotic, too'

Michelle Putz, Margaret Carey, Tom Winters (partially hidden), Jerry Ebeltoft and Joel Montgomery stand in silence as the names are called out one by one. The Eagle/Hilary Miller

JOHN DAY - One year has passed since American troops entered Iraq to combat the "War on Terror." The anniversary was Saturday, March 20 - also the first day of spring. People all over the world marked the day with peaceful marches or acts of demonstration. John Day joined the world community - or at least 14 residents did - on Friday evening, March 19 at 5 p.m. They stood on the corner of Main and Canyon Boulevard, candles in hand, silent, as Linda Harrington, one of the organizers, read 665 names of American soldiers who have been killed in the war since last March 20. Two people crouched on the sidewalk lighting 665 candles representing the deaths. The dual line of candles stretched far down the street and around the corner.

The vestiges of Women in Black, a group who formed last year in protest of the war, Women for a Viable Community and members of the community organized the vigil. "Peace is patriotic too," Harrington commented with a smile.

"The group decided to act ... the war has been going on now for a year and we wanted to make it meaningful. If you can see 600 to 700 candles representing all those people it's a powerful statement of what war does," Harrington said.

As of March 19, there have been, according figures reported by CNN, 672 coalition deaths: 572 Americans, 59 Britons, five Bulgarians, one Dane, one Estonian, 17 Italians, 2 Poles, 10 Spaniards, 2 Thai and three Ukrainian. The Pentagon has reported 3,254 wounded troops. Civilian deaths have been estimated between 10-11,000.

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