Forgive peace fence vandals




Less than a year ago, on August 4, 2007, Peace House honored the five Peace Fence organizers: Jean Bakewell, Kay Cutter, Nancy Parker, Kate Geary, Nancy Bardos and Jan Rice for bringing an awareness of peace to our community in a happy, creative and non-violent way by placing banners proclaiming peace on the railroad fence in Ashland.




It was a wonderful event with performers donating their talents; a silent auction and Oregon State Rep. Peter Buckley even wrote a poem for the occasion. The peace banners have been victimized by vandals and theft over the past two years, but nothing of the magnitude of June 19 &

a beautiful moonlit night.




Why, we wonder?




What are they so angry about?




How did these gentle declarations of peace, made by people and children of good will, offend them? Destruction is always an act of anger, acted out in such a way that we are bereft of understanding. There is a reptilian part of every mind that can act out and destroy. I have to admit if the banners had images of swastikas or KKK, I too, would be inclined to tear them down.




Our first reaction is to find the villains and punish them. But, punishment will only make them feel more alienated than they already are. We can only imagine what has been done to them that has caused them to be so filled with contempt and rage. They are very wounded and hurting individuals. This is a call for love.




Yes, love!




When we see everything, including acts of violence, as either love or a call for love, wars will be obsolete. There will be no need to either defend or attack anyone or even, God forbid, a country. How do we love people who destroy, especially if we don't even know who they are?




I would suggest that we extend love and understanding to everyone we meet every day. An act of kindness, a smile, a greeting, hold open a door &

even telling someone they are worthwhile and appreciated could possibly turn someone around who is mulling revenge of some sort. Everyone at some point in their life suffers pain or anguish.




Our hearts go out to bless Jean Bakewell and friends and all the people and children who created a banner; to those who enjoyed singing on Mother's Day; to those who signed the Peace Fence book and to everyone who turned out to appreciate the creative beauty and spirit the banners portrayed. That spirit is not gone because love never dies. But the hearts of everyone, including those who did this deed, are all heavy and hurting.




Forgiveness brings inner peace. May the peace banners forever flutter in our imagination and bring peace to our minds and the heart of our community. I will miss seeing them.




Sally McKirgan









Peace Fence is gone, but not forgotten




The Peace Fence, as we have known it, is no more. This was a very powerful, loving and emotional project. Hundreds of people from our local community, other states, Canada and Norway participated. We want to thank you all for your talents, your inspiration, your support and your love.




To the original committee of six, we thank you for your commitment, hard work and continuous support. An extra special thank you must go to Nancy Parker who has worked tirelessly from the beginning and is the creator of our wonderful Web site . Each and every panel for the last two years is immortalized there along with several heart-warming stories involving the fence. Nancy will continue to maintain the Web site for as long as possible. The second extra special thank you surely belongs to Marta Gomez, who continuously and expertly sewed on tags or repaired panels as needed. These two women have been the backbone of the project.




One last special thanks goes to the Lithia Artisans Market for believing in the Peace Fence enough to become our financial sponsors. Many of the artists also created panels for the fence. Thank you one and all!




To the Ashland community at large, we thank you for your acceptance, your tolerance, your support and your appreciation.




Several of the panels have been saved. Some are torn and tattered, but others survived somewhat intact. If you would like yours returned, please contact us through the Web site.




Once again, our thanks to you all. The Peace Fence will live on forever in our hearts and minds.




Jean BakewellKay Cutter









Speaking of manydangerous nations ... the list is long




In his letter (June 13, Tidings letters) Michael Sanford wrote, "Israel is an extremely dangerous country."




It's ironic that only Israel is dangerous. He could have mentioned China, or Russia, or North Korea, or Syria, or Iran or even Pakistan. Iran has threatened to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.




Could he have picked Israel because it is the only Jewish nation?




Maynard Telpner