By Courage to Resist. May 20th, 2014.

The City of Berkeley sponsored its 8th annual celebration of Berkeley CO and War Resisters’ Day on May 15th, International Conscientious Objectors’ Day.  As usual, it was endorsed with the presence of Courage to Resist and War Resisters League-West.  This year we were joined by a notable contingent of Grandmothers Against the War.  We were also fortunate to have a Vietnam War Resister join us accidentally, because without knowing about the event, he happened to be bicycling by us at the right time. Since the day also fell in the middle of this year’s national Spring Days of Drone Action, there was an emphasis on conscientious objection to drone warfare.

The ritual of raising the peace flags on the two City flag poles, singing the Ain’t Fest, consisting of “I Ain’t Marching Anymore”, “Down By the Riverside [Ain’t Gonna Study War No More]”, and “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around” is looked forward to by the regular attendees.

A sizable crowd of Berkeley High School students sat on grass and listened to the songs and speeches during their lunch period.  Due to the heat of the sun, they sat under the shade of trees, a little further away from most attendees, but still within hearing range.

The annual speeches and open mic for COs and Resisters were once again an appropriate reminder to honor all COs, past, present, and future.  Bob Meola, Courage to Resist and War Resisters League organizer, who wrote the resolution that created the day in Berkeley said, “I would like to see more cities, states, and nations observe International Conscientious Objectors’ Day with similar celebrations.  May 15th ought to be recognized as a holiday.  Curriculum regarding Conscientious Objection ought to be as prominent in schools as the present study of war and emphasis on war related holidays.”