Home to some of the most important and sacred Judeo-Christian sites in the world, what should be a place of peace has instead seen almost ceaseless conflict since its incorporation in 1948.

op frBy Doug Wingeier • Columnist

A group calling ourselves “Neighbors for Peace” have been holding a peace vigil in front of the Haywood County Courthouse nearly every Wednesday — rain or shine — since before the start of “Shock and Awe” in March 2003. At first we were met with some hostility by passersby who supported the Iraq War and thought that being for peace was unpatriotic. But gradually, over the 11 years since then, we have received more and more support and affirmation — in the form of waves, honks, V for victory signs, thank yous and some who stop to converse and even join us.

We still get the occasional finger, catcall, obscenity or argument, however. And recently a person walked up to us and angrily shouted several times in our faces, “You are offensive” — giving us no opportunity to respond. Some who stop are veterans home from Iraq or Afghanistan, and most of these — having personally experienced the horror and insanity of war — voice agreement with us.

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