Veterans for Peace calls LZ Lambeau a recruiting event
by Scott Williams, greenbaypressgazette.com
March 15th 2011
Anti-war activists are criticizing the LZ Lambeau event and planning a counter program in Green Bay this weekend.
A group called Veterans for Peace is conducting a series of workshops and discussions about military recruiting, combat stress and ongoing international conflicts.
Members of the group say that LZ Lambeau started out as a worthwhile tribute to Vietnam veterans, but has become a pro-war exhibition aimed at getting kids into the military.
"There will be no peace presence," critic Buzz Davis said. "The whole thing's been hijacked."
LZ Lambeau director Don Jones said he welcomes Veterans for Peace participation this weekend. There will be space at Lambeau Field for all veterans groups to distribute their literature, he said.
Jones, however, denied that the tribute and belated welcome home for Vietnam veterans has strayed from its original purpose. No military recruiters will be permitted on site, he said, and the focus will remain on honoring Vietnam-era veterans.
"It doesn't have anything to do with promoting war or anything else," he said.
The three-day event, which officially starts on Friday, is expected to draw tens of thousands of veterans for exhibits, memorials and ceremonies.
Veterans for Peace is presenting a documentary Friday afternoon at the Brown County Library, 515 Pine St., Green Bay, and other events Friday and Saturday at the Green Bay Labor Temple, 1570 Elizabeth St.
The counter programming is being billed, "Operation Honor the Dead, Heal the Wounded, Wage Peace not War."
Tony Vanderbloemen, president of the Greater Green Bay Labor Council, said he is a member of Veterans for Peace, but does not endorse their weekend activities and has no plans to participate. He said his council only agreed to lease space to the group.
"Personally, I'd rather forget the war," said Vanderbloemen, who served in the Navy during Vietnam.
Davis, a Stoughton resident who served in the Army, said his group has no plans to demonstrate at Lambeau Field, although he said some members might attend LZ Lambeau events.
The group has dropped plans to display 5,000 mock tombstones near Lambeau Field to symbolize the number of U.S. lives lost in the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Ronna Swift of Appleton, coordinator of the Fox Valley Peace Coalition, said her group likely will be represented by a carload of people who will travel to Green Bay.
Swift said she objected to LZ Lambeau organizers making "almost a party" out of what she said should be a somber occasion. She said she was pleased that Veterans for Peace were presenting the anti-war perspective.
"I don't see it as a protest at all," she said. "I see it as a healthy alternative for people."
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