Saturday, September 19, 2009

VFP Chapter 14 tables at Crosby Stills and Nash Concert

Stephen Hunter

It was a beautiful day in St. Augustine for a concert under a canopied amphitheatre.
Bill Warrick (left) and myself, Stephen Hunter (right), represented the Gainesville, FL chapter of Veterans For Peace. We were joined by two members from the Central Florida chapter, Tom Santoni and Terry Buckenmeyer (center), both St. Augustine residents.
In the CS&N contract it states that local VFP members be provided with a table and chairs to hand out free literature about VFP and our activities. As stated in our charter, we must remain unbiased in our presentations.
Along with VFP, the Autism Speaks group, promoting autism awareness and Donate Life, an organization promoting organ donations were represented. The band is devoted to supporting these organizations.
Bill and I arrived in the parking lot at the exact same time as the St. Augustine members. (There was a little grumbling about being charged to park...) We pooled our resources and carried all our materials to the gate. We were met by a helpful attendant who was expecting us. It was just minutes before we gained entry and were led to our table. We hung the banners and placed a sign, set up the table with our literature and waited, watching what was happening in the pre-concert atmosphere as masses of fans (mostly aging ex-hippies like ourselves) were gathering at the gates.
In our bundle of materials brought were gifts for the band, T-shirts reading "Iraq is Arabic for Vietnam" a book Lions of Medina and a CD on "Winter Soldier II." We contacted the "guy in charge" again and told him we had things for the band. Graham Nash's son, Will, came to see us and received the gifts for his dad and the rest of the band. We had hoped that the band might come out to see us, but to our (mild) disappointment, they did not. It is understandable that they can't just walk around in a huge crowd of fans.
Our table was just a few yards from the arena and we could hear all of the concert. We took turns going in to watch. With a triple encore, it was a good time for us all to the very end.
We encountered a lot of interest about our organization. Many who stopped by had family or friends, either in the military or thinking about joining. We handed out "Enlistment Guides" explaining the truth about recruiting and what to expect from the military, the VA and other organizations concerned with the welfare of our men and women in uniform.
Some people told us stories of people they knew and how they have been treated. One school teacher from a St. Augustine high school requested a stack of "Enlistment Guides" to hand to her students. A lot of people asked questions and took literature from the St. Augustine representatives. Their chapter may be getting new aapplications for membership. Overall, I think VFP was well received.
We want to thank Crosby, Stills and Nash for supporting our efforts to promote peace.

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