Note: This was initially posted in May 2012. It is still extremely relevant now, in May 2014. Memorial Day airshows, glorifying war, are now being conducted in several locales around the country. Anti-war demonstrations are held at many of these. This article describes the 2012 Jones Beach airshow and the demonstration that was held there by dozens of Long Island peace activists. Please also check out the four-minute video, below. It provides a very good sense of both the airshow (bizarre) and the demonstration (inspiring).
Bombers flew over the Atlantic, as we watched from the shore. Jet fighters dove through the sky above us. The veteran standing beside me trembled, as the ear-piercing sound of the planes overhead evoked an agonizing memory of war.
The vet was a member of the Long Island Chapter of Veterans for Peace. He and I were among the sixty peace activists who attended Saturday’s Memorial Day Air Show at Jones Beach. Our gathering was organized by Pax Christi Long Island. Members of numerous Long Island peace and justice organizations participated, including Code Pink LI, North Country Peace Group, South Country Peace Group, LI Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives, and the Suffolk Peace Network.
Our purpose in gathering at the beach this Saturday was to reaffirm the true reason that we observe Memorial Day. Memorial Day is a day where we pause, to mourn the loss of those who died in war. It is a day to recommit ourselves to ending ongoing wars and to preventing further wars. Memorial Day is not a day for celebrating the weapons of war. The Jones Beach Air Show glorifies war and trivializes violence.
The bomber planes swooped over the ocean, opened their bomb bay doors, and dropped watermelons into the water. Thousands on the beach cheered. We stood solemnly, holding photos of the dozens of Long Islanders who were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. We read their names. We mourned their loss. We stood before thousands of pink ribbons, each with the name of an American who was killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. We vowed Continue reading