A valiant, years-long struggle with illness ended on Valentine's Day back in February, when we lost one of our most spirited and devoted members, John Hopkins at the age of 71. John grew up in Nantucket and was a Vietnam vet, joining the army when the town police gave him the choice to volunteer or be arrested. "He was a bad boy" his activist wife Debbie said. John returned with his share of combat stress issues, struggled successfully with them with the help of healers and friends and for the rest of his life fought for peaceful change. In 2006, after visiting George W. Bush's ranch encampment protesting the war in Iraq, he led the effort to create "Arlington East" on Coast Guard Beach in Eastham - 2700 wooden crosses, stars and crescents constructed in John's barn in Truro where his contracting business was located. This memorial to those killed in the war, both military and civilian, was visited by crowds of people from all over the region. John's energy, his depth of soul and his justified anger over injustice, wars and domestic militarization were always there when
we needed a push to be creative and courageous in our actions as a chapter - and will be
remembered when we need it in the furure. Besides being a activist and a contractor, John was also a farmer and an artist. John Brewster Hopkins, Presente!!
This winter we organized our 25th Anniversary "Poetry for Peace" Contest for kindergarten through high school and adult poets on the Cape and Islands. The contest usually culminates in an Awards Ceremony and Reading in May but with the COVID19 epidemic, the whole contest was up in the air and we actually discussed cancelling it for this year. But to the rescue came Contest Coordinator Nina Tepper and 'Editor in Chief' Jim Canavan who proposed conducting the contest ONLINE - which we did! Lots of poems came in from schools and some of the judging was done electronically as well, leading to a successful 25th after all - and even a new option of the young poets recording their readings and uploading them to a central 'Video Winners' version of the Awards and Reading Event. Bravo to the contest team - teachers, student poets, parents and chapter members.
Our "Hidden Wounds Memorial" Project to create a memorial to those veterans who have
sufferred from combat stress, PTSD, TBI, MST and especially suicide has also progressed
with a proposal being submitted to a town on the Cape. This memorial is intended to be a
place of remembrance, honor, peace and reconciliation for all those individuals and
families affected by this often hidden aspect of the cost of war.
And of course, we have added our voices to the calls for financial relief for those
affected by the virus and the economic catastrophe - as well as the work for racial justice.
Black Lives Matter!
In August we saw the passing of Max Money at the age of 88.
For many of our members Max was the quiet and strong, heart and
soul of our chapter. He was one of the original members when
the Cape Cod Chapter was started in the early 1990's and a
never-wavering part of every one of our projects since then.
Max was truly a man of peace and of faith. He was also a teacher,
an author, a poet, a humanitarian and a quintessential veteran
Max served as an Marine Corps infantry platoon leader during
the Korean War and retired as a Lt. Colonel. Among his many
contributions were his numerous Veterans and Memorial Day
essays which were published in Cape Cod newspapers and which
became a regular feature of those holidays. His writings were
always very personal and heartfelt and often focused on the
intimate details of the experience of individual veterans and their
families, including his own. The true costs of war were always clear.
Max also founded and directed our Chapter's annual "Voices of
Peace" Poetry Contest for all ages from kindergarten to adult.
He guided the contest into its 23rd year in the Spring of 2018.
Over 11,000 Cape and Islands poets have participated over the
years in this annual Cape-wide event. Max also co-led a writing
group for veterans at our local Vets Center.
At the Veterans Day ceremony in Barnstable, the largest
veterans holiday event on the Cape (and one with an increasing
emphasis on peace, it seems) Max was honored by one of this year's award winning poets. Kim Berner, Cape Cod writer and poet read her poem "On Returning" in his memory. Our 24th annual contest in 2019 will be dedicated to him and will feature some of his writing.
We will miss Max's quiet clear judgement which was always sought
as part of the chapter's decision-making process and we will try to
insure that his spirit is present as we go on with our work for peace.