A Ukrainian woman living in Panama holds an anti-war sign during a protest against Russia´s invasion of Ukraine, in Panama City, Wednesday, March 2, 2022. Credit: Arnulfo Franco / AP

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Nineteen years ago, on March 19, 2003, the U.S. invaded Iraq. Immediately thereafter (as well as before), anti-war protests began throughout Maine. The protest in Presque Isle has been continuous, in all weathers, through all these years.

This August our military withdrew from Afghanistan, in disarray to be sure. We did think a bit about whether to stop demonstrating. But then, just six months later, we have a new war in Ukraine.

American troops themselves are not deployed yet, but troops have been deployed to nearby European countries, and we are providing weapons to the Ukrainians.

We don’t claim to have a solution to the war in Ukraine. Perhaps this is Vladimir Putin’s Iraq or Afghanistan; we can’t know. The purpose of our continuing, and seemingly never ending demonstration, is to manifest our conviction that all war is wrong and should be stopped. Too many people have and will die, and too many resources will be wasted, here in our hungry, warming world.

Babies born in March of 2003 can now vote, and would be eligible for the draft if we still had one. Within our group of protesters we have seen deaths and relocations. Yet we persist. This year we remember our friend John Cancelarich, who recently passed away. John was there the day the protest began 19 years ago, and many Sundays thereafter.

We also remember our friends Howard Hede and Betty Dexter, who were regulars at our demonstrations and have passed away.

On behalf of Johnnie Cancelrich, Jim Fitzgerald, Darrell Adams, Carol Pierson and Mike Lyng, we invite one and all to join us in any weather for our protest on the Aroostook River bridge in Presque Isle every Sunday from noon until 1 p.m.

Steve DeMaio