Monday, August 20, 2012

To Die For

The Air and Water Show on Chicago’s Lakeshore

It was a spectacularly beautiful day at the Lakeshore---not too hot nor too cold or rainy, a perfect day for a family outing and picnic. Thousands of people came to see the show of planes racing in formation, dipping and diving. It was breath taking because it is beautiful and it is also awful because these planes are used to kill people.  Our collective presence and actions had to reflect both of these truths.

Protest Chaplains--Rev. Luis Alvarenga, Quaker Elder Mark
McGinnis, and Megan Trimm also from FOR, join Rev. Taighen
Leighton from Chicago Buddhist Peace Fellowship, and Jay Becker from
World Can't Wait in front of our prayer banner
Protest Chaplains of Chicago worked with the Chicago Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) and the Chicago Buddhist Peace Fellowship and Wellington Ave. United Church of Christ Presente to create three different kinds or levels of engagement. The first was to provide a spiritual or protective presence for our coalition members and to the people coming to the show.  The second was to assist in the prayer making and the third was to invite and or join our Buddhists friends in meditation or prayer.

We had two teams of accompaniment. One stayed up near the drone replica and passed out flyers, encouraged people to write out prayers for peace, and engaged in dialogue while the other team went onto the beach with the Occupy Chicago group to offer a protective presence in case there was hostility from either the folks on the beach or from the police.

According to Pastor Dan Dale from Wellington who was part of the beach accompaniment team, the folks at the beach were not as hostile as they have been in years past. In fact everyone agreed that not only were they less hostile but that they also sometimes even welcoming--- some even applauded at the end of the die-in performances and thanked us for coming. But there were also rude and loud comments and drunken chants, “USA, USA, USA” and “Hippies go home” or “Leave it if you don’t like it.”

Other Chaplains worked with Megan and the FOR team in the making of peace prayers for our dove peace flag. Here is Meghan with the beginning of our collective prayer for peace.

And near the peace flag were the Buddhists meditating for peace.  Their peaceful presence reminded us all that it is not enough just to be anti-war but that we also need to learn how to be and live in peace.

I end with these words from Joe Scarry from No Drones Illinois about why we were there.

We were there to remind people that warplanes are not entertainment: they stand for death.

Late Saturday night a Occupy Chicago participant emailed to say she was glad to have been able to join in the action because her dad had been exposed to Agent Orange in the Viet Nam war. This made me realize we were there also for all our soldiers--- past and present, who are and have been put in “harm’s way” by these endless wars.

Lastly, we wish to give our deepest thanks and blessings to the many individuals and groups who supported this action, including:
Pakistan Federation of America Chicago (USA)
We also give thanks for those individuals and families who took our handouts, engaged in dialogue with us, expressed their gratitude for our presence or message, a who took our flyers about anti-recruitment and read them.  We also hold in the light those who are still struggling with how to love our country but not it’s war making ways or who don’t know how yet to be Peace Patriots.

And lastly, we give thanks to the children who were fascinated by our drone replica but also willing to listen to hear how they are used to hurt or kill people. My prayer is that a seed was planted in them, our future generation.

Here are some more pictures to give you a flavor of the day.

Here is a video of the action on the beach

For more information about Protest Chaplains of Chicago visit our facebook page for upcoming actions and articles about drones Protest Chaplains Chicago or our new blog about the dangers of drone warfare and surveillance at

See video of the Occupy Chicago die in here at

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