Wednesday, July 04, 2007

anti-war protest sign mysteriously emerges

Kudos to the Star for having the guts to report on this. Photo above is by the Star's Kelly Presnell.

At a building being refurbished in downtown Tucson, a large anti-war sign from the Viet Nam era has slowly come to the surface on the building's west side. The sign says "Help End The War By Dec. 31, 1971. Join Common Cause," and is approximately 4 x 7 feet. The building is at Stone and Alameda. The City's Dept. of Transportation is the new tenant. The department, at the urging of the Tucson Museum of Art's Executive Director, will not paint over the sign.

The anti-war movement was strong in Tucson in the late 60s and early 70s. Congressman Morris K. Udall spoke out against the war as early as 1967. This Udall quote is from the sidebar to the AZ Daily Star article about the sign:
"This nation has the brains, the know-how, the courage, the imagination to begin to extricate itself from a war we should never have blundered into,"
Sound familiar? By 1971 protesters in the thousands appeared with some regularity in the University of Arizona area.

These days you're more likely to see well-funded anti-abortion circuses, "Christians" handing out leaflets, psycho mall-preachers, aggressive military recruiters, and gospel bands on the open air stage.

The early 70s anti-war sign, which as it turns out was painted by a wealthy young liberal who owned the building at the time, has obvious historical significance, but also has a timely element. That people started noticing the sign now, and that the sign will be preserved, says a lot about popular sentiment concerning the so-called war. The sign had been painted over years ago, and took its time re-emerging, but it chose now to become noticeable.

As it turns out, the building's owner, one Gene Vinik, who died in 1999, had also painted another sign on the building's east side. This sign, which was painted over years and years ago, will never come back. The sign, which had the building's tenant, a bank, threatening to move out, was a giant peach. It said "Impeach the President."

Im-PEACH. Get it? Go Mr. Vinik! A timely fellow, messages and thoughts back from the grave, saying what everybody is thinking right now.

Star article 2 on the story is here.

An aside: links to Star articles are not permanent, as I've discovered going back over some of my old posts. I'll remedy this by quoting more, & going back and trying to replace some of the dead links with links to stories from the Tucson Weekly &tc, whose material stays on the web permanently, and, like an archive should, remain accessible and a matter of historical record.

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