Demonstrators in Worcester offer alternative to Spirit of America
Worcester Peace Works organized a demonstration at the Worcester DCU Center on Friday September 19, 2008 as the US Army returned with its Spirit of America tour.
My sign said "Invest in Diplomacy, Not War" and I heard a young boy ask his teacher "What's diplomacy?" That little boy's question made my trip worthwhile.
I counted 25 or so school buses bringing middle schools kids to watch this extravaganza. Someone told me the Worcester public and Catholic schools responded to protests from the public by canceling their plans to make this a field trip for their students.
Fortunately a lady gave me one of her extra tickets and I was able to go in and watch the two hour performance. The very professional show was a fairly entertaining one-sided history of the wars of our country and the military. The show included had live horses helping to portray Paul Revere's ride, George Washington, and the Civil War. Every time the horses entered the stage you could hear a collective "aaaahh" from the children. They re-enacted two skirmishes using smoke and extremely loud gunshots that made me jump out of my seat. A little girl near me was so scared she started whimpering a bit and the teacher had to console her for a few minutes.
There was a drum and fife corps, Army Drill Team, live orchestra and Marching band. Two big screens in the Centrum added additional stills and videos. At the intermission the actors and band members circulated in the hall and signed autographs for the children. Recruiting tables offered free lollipops, pencils, key chains and lots of literature on joining the army, the Guard, veterans organizations and women in the military. The grand finale included the songs of the different branches of the military and some rousing Sousa marches. They played popular music of the last 40 years including "You Are My Hero" and "Citizen Soldiers" The uniformed singers were very good. My favorite was a Marine (?) guitar player who did a wonderful Star Spangled Banner ala almost Hendrix.
It was horrifying to see how my taxpayer money is being spent to recruit children into the military for future wars, while nothing is spent on a Dept. of Peace or included in our public school curriculum about conscientious objection, preventing wars. Have no doubt about it the Army knows exactly what they are doing and they do it well. Can the non-violence movement compete?
I hope the teachers will have some good discussions back at school and I hope that little boy will learn what diplomacy means.