September 18, 2007

Dave Cline, Part 3: The First Memorial


[photo by celticshel]

Friends, comrades and those who who may never have known Dave Cline, but want to pay tribute to a great fighter for peace, freedom and justice, can attend Dave's viewing and memorial service in Jersey City, NJ:
Tuesday, September 18, 2007 Viewing 6 pm-9 pm
Wednesday, September 19, 2007 Viewing 2 pm-4 pm, 6 pm-8 pm
Memorial Service 8 pm - 9 pm

Mc Laughlin Funeral Home
625 Pavonia Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07306
(201) 798-8700
This is far from the last memorial for Dave , to be sure.

More significant, it's not the first. That took place in Washington, DC on Sunday morning, as members of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans For Peace and VVAW were released from the DC jails after their arrests in the Die-In protest at the Capitol steps on September 15.

Vietnam-era vet and longstanding friend of Dave's Pat McCann tells the story:
200+ of us got arrested beginning at 4pm EST on the US Capitol steps. 192 of us were booked at a US Capitol Police station in SE. Most of us spent 3-5 hours in handcuffs on the buses, then 9 - 10 hours in processing lockup. As I write, my wrists are still swollen and numb from the plastic handcuffs (which many of us eventually found our way out of). Who cares, I'm pumped! They have picked up a rock, only to drop it on their own foot. Like the youth of Soweto in 1976, we have only been emboldened by the experience!

We raised hell in that lockup! We criticized ourselves for being too cooperative when busted, and made immediate steps to correct that early mistake. Our militance rose decibels by the hour. When they told us to be silent, we laughed and chanted. When they told us to sit, we stood.

After we were busted, IVAW went through the crowd raising $100 bail for each of their members who were arrested. Half of the national leadership of both IVAW and VFP were still in lockup at 4 this morning, 12 hours after we were busted.

I have never experienced such a learning curve in my life as I did these past 15 hours. We militantly resisted the police, strategized, and built community. We know now what we will do the next time we are busted in a mass way. We will develop mass responses from those who weren't busted to support those who were. Today was historical, and we have every intention of spreading our experience. 2006 was a year where mobilization turned to resistance; 2007 is the year to deepen the resistance! As a first step, we need to develop nationwide reports of what went down in the US Capitol Police processing center in SE DC.

Dave Cline, past president of VFP (2001 - 2007) and national organizer for VVAW, passed, the night before our night in lockup. As I head down with others to the Vietnam Memorial Wall to hold the first of what will be many memorials to him, I can think of no one who has contributed more to the US movement for peace. Dave, we know that you are proud of us for wasting no time to fill the tremendous void that you and Bill Davis have left! We miss you so much, but are so happy at where you helped to bring us in our movement.

Letting it go here; the tears flow again. As Rev. Yearwood of the Hip-Hop Caucus said yesterday, "Let's go get them."

Nuff luv and respect to all, P-Mac

This photo, by longtime vet activist Bill Perry, shows the gathering at the Wall that the freed protesters and their supporters held in Dave Cline's honor.



And Thomas Brinson, of VFP Chapter 138, Long Island, who spent the night in jail with Pat and took part in the Sunday morning memorial, was moved to write this afterwards:

Memoriam


The circle of us war veterans and supporters
Stood solemn in tattered grief in a circle on the dewy lawn
Opposite the poignant point of the long and deep black stone V
Marking all the lost veterans from one other distant unnecessary war

Most of us had just been released from fourteen-and-a-half hours
Of bureaucratic harassment by storm trooper US Capitol Police
For exercising the rights that many of us once ideally had thought
We were fighting to preserve in far-off foreign places such as the
Rock Pile, Anbar Province, Central Highlands, Tora Boro, Iron Triangle
Where Dave, our just passed brother yesterday morning,
Had brutally fought and been mortally wounded forty years ago

We were each sharing our tearful remembrances of Dave,
Valiant Veteran Activist, each of us touched in our own way
By memories of his tireless service to all victims of war anywhere
When a portly US Park Ranger told us we were unauthorized to do so
Since we were conducting an illegal political rally
Because one of us was carrying a Veterans For Peace flag
We respected her instructions to move away from the Wall
To finished our impromptu memorial service for Dave

As we finished our somber file along the Wall of engraved stone
Each of us touching a name as Dave had sung about
In his raspy, tear-seasoned voice while in East New Orleans
On the Veterans and Survivors Gulf Coast March he had organized
High-booted motorcycle cops confronted us and sternly ordered
We fold up the Veterans For Peace flag or be again arrested

I broke away from the group engaging the just-following-orders cops
Looked up at the three-warrior statue of us in our long-ago lost youth
Followed their heart-stricken gaze of bewildered grief at all our names
Saluted Dave, the latest addition to that black corridor of needless death
Thanked him for clearing away the stormy skies with his strong spirit
As he finally escaped the emaciated hull of his skin-and-bones body
So we his brothers and sisters could march in the bright sunlight
Of a new day for the never-ending struggle for peace with justice

September 17, 2007
Long Beach, NY

1 comment:

Liz said...

Thank you so much for that. Dave was an inspiration to me in Fayetteville in March of 2005. I just wrote a little bit about him myself at www.lizseymour.wordpress.com