Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Thank you to everyone who came to the vigil tonight. What a beautiful, moving, inspiring evening.
We gathered on the steps of the Riverside Public Library, and our numbers kept growing (one person counted 77 people; another said we were up to 120 at one point.) At 8:00, thanks to someone's excellent suggestion, we created a silent candelight procession through the street festival in progress a block away. As we walked, people touched my arm and said "Thank you". Some onlookers broke into spontaneous applause. I was expecting to receive some hostile responses, but they never came.
After circling the block, we reconvened at the library and formed a huge circle. People who felt moved to do so--including the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq in December and a woman whose husband is currently stationed there--stepped into the center of the circle and shared their thoughts. I could feel so much energy in that circle, could feel peace rippling off all of us into the night. It was wonderful to remember that over 1500 groups were also gathering, all of us sending out peace from our communities. The tides are turning. I can feel it. We can change the course of this war.
Thanks to Rhonda Neugebauer for the pictures!
Update: You can read the Press-Enterprise coverage of local vigils here.