Although only about 25 residents turned out Monday night for the Solutions for Peace vigil in downtown Canton, event organizer Roy Taylor said the number of residents willing to stand against President Barack Obama’s recent call for military action in Syria was encouraging.
“As I left (home) tonight, there were 224 of these events that we were sharing with other people around the country,” Taylor said. “If you don’t know this area well, this is a tremendous turnout. It’s really great to be part of this larger thing that’s happening across the country.”
Many of those on hand for the vigil said the reports that the Syrian government might have used chemical weapons on its own people were horrifying. But those in attendance agreed military action is not the answer.
Norma Costello of Woodstock said there has to be a peaceful way to combat the situation in Syria.
“I think there’s got to be more solutions than going in and sending our (children),” Costello said. “I have a son and I have nephews. I don’t want to send them.”
Kennesaw resident Anne-Marie Tremblay agreed.
“The dialogue that we hear from the politicians is that there’s only one answer: war,” she said. “I disagree with that. You have to exhaust all peaceful ways. For me, there are other ways.”
Ball Ground resident Dee Osborne said with international support for military strikes against Syria looking slim, the United States needs to think long and hard before taking action.
“If the United States acts by itself without some type of agreement and concurrence with other global leaders through the U.N., then we’re engaging in illegal acts of war just as what we’re trying to fight,” Osborne said. “How does that better the world?”
Laura Montgomery of Norcross said such action won’t better the world.
Montgomery said she’s been protesting for peace since the 1960s and still believes tactics like those being considered by the Obama administration aren’t productive, no matter how noble the cause.
“I think that this behavior in Syria, everybody opposes except the little group that backs (the Syrian regime),” Montgomery said. “But you don’t make peace by bombing innocent people. When does bombing people make peace?”
World War II veteran and Cherokee resident Jack Cashin said the fight in the second World War was justified, but since then, politicians have been sending soldiers to die in wars for no reason.
“All the wars after World War II were bogus wars,” he said. “They were manufactured by the politicians who used us.”
And the situation brewing in Syria has the potential to end in the same way, he said.
“That’s what they’re trying to do now,” Cashin said.
More than a few of those in attendance Monday night expressed their disappointment with Obama for his advocacy of a strike against Syria.
Taylor said he was once a strong supporter of the president, but Obama’s statements on Syria have changed things.
“In 2008, I knocked door-to-door trying to get him elected,” Taylor said. “My disappointment runs very deep.”
Cashin said Obama has changed since taking office.
“He came in as, I assume, a peace president,” he said. “But it didn’t last very long.”
But Taylor said the fact that Obama has expressed support of taking action against Syria could actually help the movement to avoid war.
“It’s interesting to hear how many Republicans are against it,” he said. “Now, they might be against it just because it’s the president. That’s OK by me.”