Saturday Vigil

Every Saturday, 87-year-old Estelle Margolis stands vigil on the Post Road bridge. Here she was on February 1:

(Photo/Robert Baldrich)

(Photo/Robert Baldrich)

The other day, she wrote “06880”:

The sign breaks my heart. These “kids” are coming home with no way to deal with normal life. Their “family” is the troops they served with, and many want to go right back. We are not paying attention in this society to what I consider drastic social problems.

The Veterans Administration is overwhelmed by the needs of the returning vets. Not only the physically harmed, but the psychologically damaged. I saw a stat that the Department of Defense is dealing with over 400,000 vets in need, and they cannot handle it. There are many more now.

Where are we putting our money?  “Petty cash” on Karzai’s desk every week?  Making new weapons to kill people?  Over 8,000 vets a year killing themselves, and those are only the ones we know about. Add that to the troops still getting killed in Afghanistan. Tragic!

I don’t feel like I can do enough to make a difference. The message does get out to some motorists passing me on the bridge every Saturday morning. But only between 11 and 11:30 a.m. I can do better, but only in good weather.

Where are the college kids protesting?  Where are the Mothers for Peace? Where are the news stories about these hideous statistics?  Where are the debates in Congress?

I am the mother of every one of those incredibly courageous troops. They never could believe they would die in their 20s. Better believe it!

12 responses to “Saturday Vigil

  1. Mrs. Margolis is a lifelong political and antiwar activist, and she deserves credit for her strong convictions. (And for her hardiness standing out in the extreme cold!) It is, however, over-the-top for her to proclaim that she is “the mother of every one of those courageous troops.” Chances are that many of the families of those who serve, don’t agree with Mrs. Margolis’ antiwar beliefs. I do not know if any of Mrs. Margolis’ own children served in the armed forces, but that would be the only case in which she could be considered the mother of one of those courageous troops.

    • I am sure any family who had a child serve our country would be humbled by her commitment to demand that we take care of our vets when they return.

  2. Damn good for her and thank you Dan. Joey

  3. Ruth Kalla Ungerer

    Estelle is a hero to me. Her voice should resonant with each of us, not just those who pass on the bridge between 11:00 and 11:30 on a Saturday.

  4. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    As long as she doesn’t sneak firearms/ammunition into any more public meetings just to prove a valid point, Estelle can count on my family’s support in her long antiwar vigil of 50 years.

    Way back almost at the beginning (1966) of Estelle and her husband Manny’s crusade, I wanted to “get older, fast” so I could join up and go fight my country’s enemies like my father did. Thank God I didn’t get my wish.

    Already at work were Manny and Estelle putting their lives where their mouths were.

    I remember as a boy, looking at Manny and Estelle in Westport and I didn’t have a clue what they were doing or why. Neither did my mother, who was a WWII widow (and far from the only one of those in Westport). I do think my mother may have questioned their loyalty and in retrospect, I understand why (because she was a WWII widow).

    Now, at almost 62, I finally “get it.” Manny and Estelle, over 50 years ago, started a lonely fight against our country’s enemies. We were trying to do the same thing, probably for similar reasons, that included wanting to end suffering and wanting “right” to prevail over “wrong” (aka “Good” over “Evil.”) What I was trying to do back then (and have continued to do for too many years since then, but no longer), in contrast to Manny and Estelle, was focus my “weapons” on the wrong target.

    I briefly served in the Marine Corps. I have two sons of draft age. If Estelle Margolis wants to call me and my boys her sons, she has our complete blessing and our love in return. I consider us all to be fortunate that Manny and Estelle, (Estelle, physically by herself now but no less vigorously) are continuing to focus on the “right” targets. The most important questions are, currently, who will join Estelle and who will take Manny and Estelle’s place after she rejoins Manny in Heaven?

    Eric William Buchroeder SHS ’70

  5. Holly Wheeler

    I am convinced that the lack of protest and outrage by parents and students, as well as the general public, at any US war involvement today (as opposed to Vietnam, the war of my generation) is due to the fact that there is no draft. I am certainly not suggesting a draft, but the lack of one has got to contribute to the public’s apathy. After all, why protest something that will never directly affect the lives of your sons or daughters? Why protest a war in which so few have actually died, but a war in which the lives of hundreds of thousands have been overturned by tragedies oftentimes worse than death?

    Thanks, Mrs. Margolis. All of us should be joining you on the bridge.

  6. Jo Fox,

    Estelle, I am proud of you and share your sentiments. War, all war, is insane. It never solves anything. You would think at this stage in our development, we would have figured out a better way to solve our
    political problems. Yet war madness is spreading, despite the admirable efforts of persons, such as yourself, and, my hero, the late Pete

    It is also time to recognize the pressures of the industrial-military complex to create an excessive trove of war materials, defending their deadly efforts under the guise of providing employment and guaranteeing defense readiness. Their real motive is solely profit, and they are enabled by our “for sale” Congress.

  7. I think it is the depth of Estelle’s compassion and caring that enables/compels her to claim to be mother to all those who have served been hurt, maimed or killed and then forgotten by our government. As a mother and member of the human family she has every right to claim motherhood. I think if more of us reacted to the disgraceful way our government treats our sons and daughters after using them with little or no commitment to their long term welfare, we would all be on the bridge every day all day. I admire and respect Estelle for what she stands for and then acts on it.

  8. Rock On Estelle!

  9. Mary Ann West

    Three cheers for Estelle and our protesters! I suggest, if you are so moved, go to the bridge on Saturday at 11:00 AM, bring your kids and a sign and show your support for our troops…and Estelle!

  10. Rock on Estelle, there’s nothing over the top about your strong beliefs. If
    more people shared your values, there probably wouldn’t be a need for
    anti-war activism.

  11. Alan M. Beasley

    Peter, as usual, is off-base on most things, including Estelle. Some with strong opinions have no facts to back them up. They are like parrots

    Manny was a Veteran of WW Il, and an activist for many social causes
    I joined the group on a few occasions. I carried a sign urging the impeachment of Bush and Cheney, as the prominent organizers of these carnages.

    Coming to the conclusion that this effort was not going to spread, I gave-up. It also hurt my feet, even in nice weather.

    I am one of a fading number of WW II vets, our countries last military victory