I have always been somewhat uncomfortable and conflicted with the "peace" symbol and felt guilty about my feelings. It was a peace symbol for goodness sake. Why did I have negative feelings about this symbol of peace? Was I against peace? Was I a war monger?
Last night, when I read this letter and talked to my parents, it all came back to me and made perfect sense. My five year old eyes saw this symbol of peace spit, mock, insult and swear at my father who was proudly serving his country in defense against the spread of communism. I saw but did not understand at the time the hurt, confusion, and anger in my dad's face.
As I grew older in the early 70's I saw more of this treatment of our returning servicemen in the news. Today, those same people who did this to my dad, Mr. Marinan and others are now claiming to support our troops, but not the war. To me, they are phony and disingenuous.
Mr. Marinan's letter helped me understand my personal feelings toward this symbol. I thank him with all sincerity for writing this letter and, most importantly, for proudly serving his country during the Viet Nam war.
Symbol creates controversy, not unityI do not understand why the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center wishes to re-establish Missoula's equivalent of the Rebel Flag, the peace sign.
Never has there been one symbol that has divided this community so dramatically. Groups have formed openly and covertly to put it up and take it down. People love it, hate it or just don't understand it.
Its promoters trespassed and defaced private property to create it and maintain it, although not once was anyone proud enough to take credit.
In 1973, a group full of hate wearing peace symbols spat and cursed at me. I was in uniform, a two-year drafty on my way home. Imagine how I felt the day that symbol appeared on the hillside.
Some see the peace sign as the icon of an anti-establishment, counter-culture, more interested in personal freedoms than peace - the flag of the young and enlightened of the '60s and '70s, perhaps.
As long as you are preaching to the choir, the support you feel will be overwhelming. What this symbol means to those in your group is not representative enough to become a bold symbol of our community.
Remember the sign, archive it, create a plaque to it, but don't put it back on the hill. Your money and time would be better spent on a more appropriate project, one that promotes peace, not controversy.
Tim Marinan, Missoula