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Sandy peace vigil to end with final event on Friday, May 28 posted on 05/01/2021

After 15 years of weekly community gatherings to promote peaceful solutions to conflict, the organizers of the Sandy Peace Vigil have announced that the group will hold its final physical vigil. The vigil will be held from 4-5 p.m. May 28 at the intersection of Hwy. 26 and SE 362 Drive in Sandy.

The group held its first vigil on Feb. 2, 2007. The group initially gathered as a public response to the Bush administration’s military action in Afghanistan and Iraq said group organizer Mary Andersen.

“The vigils are a gesture to remind people of the conflicts our country is involved in. We want peaceful resolutions and for people to think about nonviolent options,” said Andersen, a resident of the Alder Creek community since 1984.

Participants display signs calling for an end to the conflicts and to raise awareness in the community.

“Probably our most iconic sign is ‘Honk for Peace,’” vigil participant Bruce Ryan said.

Ryan, a Brightwood resident, is a retired teacher and veteran of the United States Navy who served in Vietnam. Since his time in the military, he has been an active advocate for peace and a participant in the Sandy vigils since their inception.

“I think legislative action is more telling then street protests, but what you hope for with street protests is passersby say, ‘What the [heck] is going on,’ and ask about the issues,” Ryan said.

Andersen stated the group “isn’t political” and that people “turn out with a variety of political views who just want peace.”

Over the years the group has had a number of military veterans involved as active participants.

The vigil was originally held every Friday from 4-5 p.m. After several years, the group began holding the vigil every first Friday of the month.

In January 2008 the group held a 24-hour vigil attended by up to 30 people to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the gathering.

“We’ve been out rain or shine, sometimes it’s been really dicey with snowing and ice, but we thought it was important to be consistent,” Andersen said.

The group stopped the vigils in March of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Andersen encouraged continued community involvement during the pandemic with a virtual vigil in the form of an email newsletter with stories promoting peace and links to petitions. She intends to continue with the community engagement and invites citizens to join the community online by emailing sandypeacevigil@gmail.com.

“We think it remains useful to remind people there are still troops fighting and dying. There is plenty of conflict in the world and we feel it is important to continue to work towards nonviolent solutions,” Andersen said.

The final peace vigil is open to the public and will be held rain or shine.

By Ben Simpson/MT

 

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