On Ash Wednesday 2017, members of the Catholic Worker movement removed a sword embedded in a cross at a war memorial in Toowong Cemetery, Brisbane.
Employing blacksmith tools and skills they began the conversion of the sword into a garden hoe, enfleshing the prophecy of Isaiah 2 “they shall beat their swords into ploughshares”
Since their nonviolent anti-war action they have received much vitriol and slander from the state and mainstream media.
We, the undersigned, are military veterans and relatives of military veterans;
We are aware that since its creation in the 1930’s, by founders Peter Maurin and Dorothy Day, the Catholic Worker movement has always embraced military veterans. Some of the most courageous anti-war activists in the Catholic Worker movement have been military veterans: Phil Berrigan, Peter DeMott and Joshua Casteel for example.
In the United States, Europe and Australia, Catholic Workers offer support to military veterans who are homeless on the streets or imprisoned as well as to veterans groups organising for peace and justice
We are also aware how the state manipulates sentiment around the war dead to recruit young men and women for
present and future wars. We are aware of the mainstream Churches’ general failure to follow Jesus in opposing war, instead blessing war and war preparations. We are aware of the many ways in which Christian symbols have been exploited to facilitate further bloodletting.
We see the action carried out by the Catholic Workers in Brisbane not as anti-soldier or anti-military veteran or indeed as damage to the war memorial itself. We see the act of removing the sword from the cross as an act of repair to the memorial. We look forward to the continued and complete repair and restoration of the cross without further desecration by weapons of war.
We stand in solidarity with Tim Webb, Andy Paine, Franz and Jim Dowling as they face the courts for this nonviolent anti-war action in a time of escalated war and war preparations.
Scott Albrecht, U.S. Air Force veteran, crew chief 1980-84, deployed to U.K.
Kenneth Ashe, U.S. Army Vietnam veteran 2 tours, helicopter crew-chief 1969-71
Ellen Barfield, U.S. Army veteran, 1977-81
Bernie Eisenberg, U.S. Army veteran 1954-56, U.S.-Korean conflict, also deployed to Europe.
Bruce K. Gagnon, U.S. Air Force veteran, 1971-74, Vietnam era
Jack Gilroy, Veterans for Peace, New York.
Ben Griffin, British Army 1997-05, N.Ireland, Macedonia, Afghanistan, Iraq.
Michael Hearington, U.S. Army veteran, Vietnam era 1970/71.
Walter Heaton, British Army veteran, England, Germany, Malaya 1948-53.
Herbert Hoffman, U.S. Army veteran, 1954-56
Ed Horgan, former Commandant Irish Army.
Tarak Kauff, U.S. Army 1959-62.
Sharon Lee Kufeldt, U.S. Air Force 1968-71, daughter of USMC Korean & Vietnam veteran
John Lynes, British Army veteran, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers 1946-48.
Major Kenneth E. Mayars, USMCR (Retired), 1958-66, Vietnam.
Patrick McCann, U.S. Air Force veteran 1970-72, Chanute AFB (refused deployment to Da Nang AB, Vietnam, immediate past national President of Veterans for Peace.
Jim Radford, British D-Day veteran WW2.
Greg Rolles, former Australian soldier and officer cadet (2001 – 2004)
Jack Ryan, U.S. Army veteran 1961-63
Pastor Scott Roser, Iraq War veteran, U.S. Air Force.
Jay Wenk, U.S. WW2 veteran, Combat Infantry, 90 Infantry Division, Third Army, in Europe.
RELATIVES OF VETERANS
Shane Anderson, grandson of two Australian WW2 veterans serving in Darwin and Papua New Guinea.
Steve Baggarly, son-in-law of career U.S. Air Force officer, grandson of U.S. Marine, grand nephew of U.S. WW2 veteran
Aiden Booker, Grand nephew of Australian WW1 veteran, Light Horse
Genny Bove, daughter of British Royal Air Force veteran, 1941-46, North Africa, Italy, Yemen. Granddaughter of WW1 British Army veteran, Balkans, Salonica, India & Africa.
Julie Brown, sister, niece & granddaughter of U.S. military veterans.
Deirdre Clancy, Granddaughter of Irish army veteran and veteran of the Irish War of Independence (at the time of his death in 2006, he was the last surviving vet of that war recognised by the State).
Barb Crossing, daughter of Australian WW2 2/2nd. Commando veteran in East Timor & New Britain. Granddaughter of Australian Army WW1 11th. Battalion veteran, wounded Gallipoli landing, Russia, Mesopotamia
Mark Dalton, nephew of Irish Republican Army veteran, War of Independence.
Katie Dowling, Granddaughter of WW2 veterans: Jim Dowling who returned from WW2 with mental illness and Grand niece of Bernard Dowling who died on a beach on Bouganville at 19 years of age
Raquel Falk, Sister, cousin, niece of U.S. military veterans.
Bill Galvin, Conscientious Objector, son of U.S. Army WW2 veteran, Europe
Bob Graf, nephew of 3, uncle of 1 U.S. military veterans.
Martha Hennessey, sister of U.S. Army Vietnam veteran.
Fr. Martin Kelly , son and nephew of Irish Republican Army veterans, War of Independence. Uncle in U.S. Forces WW1. Cousin died in second Iraq War. Killed in Action, Beesheba, 6/11/17
Damien LeGoullon, Grand nephew of 3rd. Australian Army Bn. Imperial Camel Corp. Killed in action Beesheeba 6/11/17
Bernard Maloney, son of Australian Army WW2 veteran, Papua New Guinea, Borneo
Gary MacLennan, son of veteran of the Battle of the Somme, mother was a war widow, three brothers who served in the British Royal Navy.
Sr. Kay McPadden, daughter of Australian Army WW2 veteran
Justin Morahan, brother served in the Irish Army in the early 1970’s including deployment to Congo.
Ched Myers, son of U.S. WW2 & Korean veteran, brother of Vietnam veteran.
David Nash, Grandson of British Royal Navy WW2 veteran
Ciaron O’Reilly, Grandson of Irish Republican Army veterans, War of Independence, Grand nephew of 3 Australian Army WW1 veterans, France.
Sean O’Reilly, Grandson of Irish Republican Army veterans, War of Independence, Grand nephew of 3 Australian Arm WW1 veterans, France.
Rosalie Riegle, sister of U.S. Korean War veteran and stepsister of U.S. WW2 veteran.
Tony Robertson, son of Australian WW2 veteran, Borneo and Papua New Guinea.
Scott Schaeffer Duffy, Brother in law to 2 Vietnam veterans, nephew of Korean War veteran, great nephew of WW2 veteran and descendant of veterans of the U.S. Civil War, the War of 1812 and American Revolution.
David Sprigg, Grandson of Australian WW2 Army veteran 1939-45.
Mark Taylor, Grandson WW1 British Army veteran, Western Front, France. Grand nephew WW1 British Army Killed in Action, Western Front, France.
Dave Wheelahan, Nephew of Australian Army, WW1, WW2 and Korean War veterans. Darryl Nelson, Grandson of Gallipoli veteran Imogen Bunting, daughter of British WW2 veteran Pilot, Fleet Air Arm, Royal Navy
Margaret Hawkes,My Dad James John Dowling was in Air Force in World War Two. He was in Darwin in air raid shelter when Darwin was bombed. He returned from war with mental illness and his 7 children grew up with seeing our Dad tormented by memories of war. I would not wish this on anyone. I support these 4 peace activists as Jesus was about peace and swords are a symbol of violence so why put it on a cross?
Darryl Nelson, As the Grandson of Gallipoli veteran. I wholeheartedly support this action.