This October 7 at 5 pm, veterans and allies will gather at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza in NYC, as we did last year, when 25 veterans and allies were arrested as we peacefully remembered the fallen, reaffirmed our commitment to ending war, exposed the lies and betrayals of U.S. wars and stood with dignity and resolve for our inalienable right to assemble.
The police normally do not bother anyone passing through or lingering at the Memorial at any hour although there is an arbitrary 10 pm closing time posted. We were arrested slightly after 10 pm as we read the names of the fallen and placed flowers at the base of the memorial wall.
Prior to 10 PM we had speakers, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghan war vets as well as non vets who exposed the lies and betrayals of the Vietnam war and made the connections between U.S. wars of empire, militarism, poverty and environmental devastation.
Subsequently 12 of us went to trial and after 5 days of compelling testimony had a very interesting and somewhat unprecedented verdict of guilty and then a dismissal of all charges, “in the interest of justice.”
We are filing a federal suit to challenge the 10 PM closing time and are involving NY City Council members in the struggle to overturn this ordinance restricting our right to assemble. We claim the right to be at that open plaza place of memories at any time day or night as is the case at most war memorials.