Rally held outside Camp Ripley gates on International Peace Day

Activists gathered from as far away as Coleraine, Grand Rapids, Fifty Lakes, Alexandria and Longville, to join the Little Falls Partners for Peace to hold a vigil outside Camp Ripley’s main gates Sept. 21, International Peace Day. The purpose of the event was to demand the immediate withdrawal of U.S. Forces from Afghanistan, end drone bombing campaigns in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia and seek peaceful resolutions to the Syrian civil war and the dispute over Iran’s nuclear energy program. FBI whistle-blower and peace activist Coleen Rowley was also at the vigil to share her views on the illegality of the current war. Pictured above are some of the activists (from left): Vicki Andrew of Grand Rapids; Linda Flanagan of Coleraine and Theresa Skorseth and Robin Hensel of Little Falls. Pictured below, members of the community gathered on the opposite side of the highway to offer their support for American troops and veterans (from left): Tom Kotval, Char Kempenich and Gigi Dambowy of Little Falls; Vietnam veteran Bob Messinger of Little Falls, who spent 21 years in active duty with the Army; Vietnam veteran Bill Kokett of Motley, Melvin Norvell of Little Falls, whose son and son-in-law are both veterans and Vietnam veteran John McDougle of Randall. Kokett said the group was there to show the troops that some people do support them. “We didn’t get any support when we came home from Vietnam,” he said. Norvell held a sign that said, “Thank you and God bless those who serve our country.”