Candlelight vigil

I left work this afternoon around 5:30, and walked home through coolish air and into a completely uncommitted evening. I dropped into Salvation Army on the way and by 6:05, was home to fall into the open arms of my favorite brown couch. I puttered for a bit, pulled on my new favorite jeans and ate guacamole and baby carrots for dinner in front of the second half of a rerun of “Stargate SG-1.”
I knew that it would be a crime to spend the rest of this beautiful evening in my apartment, but calls to a friend went unanswered, and as I was staring at my phone, trying to determine who to call next, it rang. It was my mother, who mentioned that she was planning on attending a candlelight vigil tonight to support Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, who is camping outside of President Bush’s Crawford ranch in protest to the war and to lament her son’s lost life, a life wasted by hubris. I had played with the idea of going to a vigil tonight, but hadn’t signed up or done a research as to where they were taking place. A quick googling found an abundance of vigils in the Center City area. I picked one, grabbed a candle and headed out.
I went to the vigil in Fairmount, because it felt appropriate to protest the war and stand in solidarity with a woman in righteous pain in the shadow of the country’s first Penitentiary.
I arrived at the vigil and found a eclectic collection of people, standing silently in a circle with candles and signs. There weren’t more than 80 people there, although a few more trickled in over the next ten minutes. There was a cluster of deeply tanned, much-tattooed men and women who showed up on motorcycles. Hippies, young and old. Several families, four or five young couples and individuals who arrived alone. The signs were handmade and a little crude, but they conveyed the message with more eloquence than a professional printing job would have. Two plates of liberty bell shaped ginger snaps traveled in opposite directions around the circle. I was reminded of the power of people standing silently with intention and emotion.
I had my camera with me, and considered taking pictures, but it felt inappropriate for me to take on the role of documenter or observer, when I was there to participate. When I arrived, I spotted Karin, a woman I know from the Unitarian church, who is the mother of one of my buddies, but also a friend of mine in her own right. I stood next to her and lit my candle from her’s. We stood in silence for many minutes, until she leaned towards me and said, “We need a gong or something, to indicate the end!” I muffled a giggle and said, “I’ll give it a couple more minutes, and then we go.” Then one person said goodnight and another took that as a sign to start singing, “God Bless America.” One verse of that and we all blew out our candles and headed out into the night.

More tomorrow on what I did when I headed out into the night.

0 thoughts on “Candlelight vigil

  1. Sandra

    Even in suburbia of Houston where I live there is support for Cindy Sheehan. One of my best friends is the PR person for our local Democratic Comm and she’s been spending her week sending out press releases for the get together/support meeting on Saturday am in our area. I’m considering actually going to support this. I had no idea there were vigils going on last night all over.

  2. albert

    the showing in washington square over on walnut/7th turned out over 350 people. there were a couple of people speaking with cbs3 cameras there, but i couldn’t hear anything. it was nice to just be out there with all of those people.

  3. MoDad

    We had a choir potuck Wednesday evening, but when 7:30 arrived, we put down our various gnoshes, lit our candles (though it was windy, and many of us settled for “virtual” flames), and had a silent moment of solidarity. I hold to a visualization of politics without George Bush or any coroporate-fed neocons, and instead a re-animated electorate able to vote in truly fair elections. There was a time when Conservatives were not selfish and greedy, but were simply conservative. They also believed in fair elections, like true Americans.


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