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Fasting Protest at U.S. Capitol

October 20, 1986

"An intrinsically compelling story." Lawrence Weschler used this phrase in his article. I would agree with Weschler's assessment, but add that it is clearly an understatement.

There is something intrinsically compelling about four war veterans who were willing to die for the principle that U.S. intervention in Nicaragua is wrong. Yet, something much more profound was happening on the steps of the Capitol of this country. I think that is precisely why "we"--collectively, and particularly the media--averted our gaze, turned a deaf ear, and walked away. It is simply too painful to confront the depth and breadth of these men's actions.

Clearly, these men in their days of fasting were "steadfast" in their resolve to continue. I believe their motivation was that they know there is some thing worse than death: It is how we choose to live life.

These men are not radical ideologues cavalier about life and death. Charles Liteky, a former Roman Catholic priest, has tremendous respect for life--his own and others. That is how he received the Medal of Honor, by personally rescuing 20 wounded soldiers in Vietnam amid bullets and grenades. But, obviously, something else happened to Liteky on his way through life so that when he went to Nicaragua he wanted to personally rescue all the victims amid the violence of war. Once he had learned a lesson about death in Vietnam, he needed to more fully embrace life, even if that meant transcending death.

I wish each of us would take a quiet moment to reflect upon what was happening to these men as a reflection of us. Maybe, just maybe, we could see the importance of living our lives as a testimony to death: When our bodies die, the light will shine on. But, please, think about it.

LYNN MAGNAN-DONOVAN

Burbank

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