Granny Vigil Tonight

Here are some photos and a
sound file of my speech
at the vigil tonight, where participants demonstrated in solidarity with the Granny Peace Brigade in D.C. today meeting with senators.

Eileen McCabe reads a poem

Text of my speech:

We are here today to support everyone who is speaking out against the Iraq War –
especially the grandmothers who have stepped forward to take a stand. The Granny Peace Brigade, made up of grandmothers who were arrested last spring at a New York military recruiting station for refusing to leave until they were enlisted, is in Washington D.C. today meeting with Senators to urge them to stop the surge of more troops and to bring the troops currently in Iraq HOME! These grandmothers are an inspiration to Americans who need to be empowered to speak out against this illegal war and occupation – yes, even here in Utah!


The infamous “Granny D”, Doris Haddock, anti-nuclear activist and political agitator, now 96, walked across America at age 89 in 1999 for 14 months in an effort to engage
Americans in the political process said it best: “It’s never too late to get in shape!
It is never too late to dust off the dreams you may have for yourself and for your
community and your country –and do something about them. It is never too late to have
another great adventure, make a few thousand new friends,and, well, if you like –it
worked for me– to march on the Capitol and get arrested.”

I pose these questions for your reflection:
How do we want our children and grandchildren to remember us? What kind of world do we want to leave to them? What visions are we providing for them?

Are we, Americans, in control of our government and our country?

The answer to this last question is a resounding NO. It’s long past time for us to
change that. But we can’t do it without taking action. We must not be “crisis-driven” and only raise our voices in the face of the final hours of an impending event that we know is wrong. – only to retreat into our “holes” because we feel powerless.


We must maintain a visible presence and be vigilant at all times! This is OUR country
and our children and grandchildren will be faced with picking up where we leave off.
How many pieces will we be leaving them?


And so I challenge Utahns – all Utahns – to join others across this great nation in
taking back our country. Join the bold grannies who are speaking out – it’s not too
late! Visit and write your representatives. Organize events in your communities to plan citizen actions. Read alternative news sources. Stay active!


As Granny D stated in a 2001 speech in her home state of Maine:
“This is a time for all of us to speak the truth with courage adn hope. America is a
work in progress adn we all have some work to do right now. It is the work of peace, of frank education, of making our lives and our communities more sustainable and less
dependent on the suffering of others, and of cleaning up a campagin finance system that has allowed our elected leaders to represent not our interests and values, but those of international corporations who are set on world domination and who have the resources to buy our government away from us if we will let them. We will not, so long as we live, and so long as our freedoms afforded us in our constitution are our guiding lights and inspiration.”


Text of poem read by Eileen McCabe:
The grandmothers go to war

for Katherine

We are the strong ones.
Bumptious, blue-haired,
rip-handed — dangerous
in defense of our grandchildren,
we are an untapped Power.
We are furious, disciplined,
manipulative, sly — lessons
learned in a half century
of service to quarrelsome men
— far more gimlet-eyed
than the children those men
would send off to war,
and we won’t have it!
We will not lie quiet while
generations are turned in a
moment to scattered ash.
We have nothing to lose
but our grandchildren: Send us.
Send us instead. We will
shroud ourselves in burkhas,
cast down our angry eyes,
pack ferocity around our ample
waists and under our
lymphedemic arms, strap books
to our cottage cheese buttocks,
poems to our fulsome thighs.
Unobtrusive as ghosts, we will
slip over the false borders
into the strongholds of those
who would enslave us.
We are old hands at this.
Black ships laden with riches,
we will bring to our sisters
the perfume of knowledge.
We will give them bright
mirrors to show them their beauty;
invest them with our strengths,
to pass on to their daughters;
reveal to them our scars,
and invite them to join us, for this
is a holy war fought by all women.
Together, we are invincible.
In the names of our grandchildren,
we are relentless. We are unafraid.

–Marjorie Rommel

An earlier version was published in
September 11 2001 Journal,
(December 2001)


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