Saturday, September 8, 2007

Crosses for Peace on the front page, again.

From Dan Judge at the Vallejo- Times Herald.

Crosses for peace

As the city of Napa increasingly begins to resemble a cemetery, organizers of a silent anti-war protest are getting their point across.

NAPA - If the white crosses appearing on front lawns throughout Napa are starting to make the city increasingly resemble a cemetery, the organizers of the silent anti-war protest are getting their point across.

The unique Crosses4Peace demonstration is meant to serve as a stark reminder of the deaths resulting from the war in Iraq, said John Stephens, a member of the grassroots group UNCOIL (United Napans Concerned Over Iraq Lunacy).

"We are appalled at the number of people who are dying - not just soldiers but also civilians," he said Thursday. "The idea is to remind ourselves and the community that people are continuing to die and our tax dollars are paying for this terrible consequence."

Since the campaign started last December, UNCOIL has handed out 77 (actually more like 223)of the 3-foot crosses to Napa residents who request them, said Stephens, a 63-year-old retired plumber at Napa State Hospital.

Some leave the crosses unadorned while others personalize them with messages such as "peace" or a Star of David, he said.

"It's a great anti-war protest," Stephens said. "When we have a demonstration, we stand out there one or two hours. With the grave markers, our protest of the war is out there 24 hours a day. It's a very powerful message."

The inspiration for the protest was a contractor named Jeffrey Heaton who, with the help of the Mount Diablo Peace and Justice Center, placed thousands of crosses on a privately owned hillside in Lafayette as a memorial to those killed in the war. The goal is to erect one cross for each fallen U.S. soldier.

Members of the Napa group found the message dignified and undeniable as well as one they would like to emulate.

Without enough land available to hold so many crosses, however, they elected to settle for a single cross on the lawn of anyone who wants to register their objections to the war.

UNCOIL member Summer Mondeau, 43, said a member of the Sonoma County Chapter of the Veterans for Peace put it best when he learned about the project.

"He said, 'Rather than putting 3,000 crosses in one place, the idea here is instead to put one cross in 3,000 places.' That summed it up rather nicely," she said. …

"I guess my wish is that that they just really understood what they've done - how much they've hurt the whole world," she said. "I guess this is my way of reminding them."

Mondeau added that anyone who would like to request one of the crosses free of charge can contact her by calling (707) 252-8242 or e-mailing

E-mail Dan Judge at or call 553-6831.

U.N.C.O.I.L. - United Napans Concerned Over Iraq Lunacy
WHO: Co-founded in early 2004 by Napa businessman, John Sensenbaugh
and physician, Dr. Eric Khoury

- Includes a working membership of well over 200

MISSION: To bring a swift end to the Iraq war

- Protests "the United States' questionable preemptive entry into war
with another sovereign nation"
- Promotes peace through responsible grassroots activism