Tag Archives: ” Iraq War

7 Years On The Bridge

In the 1960s and ’70s, a good-sized group gathered every Saturday morning in front of Town Hall (the current Spruce store next to Restoration Hardware). Week in and week out, they protested the Vietnam War.

Estelle Margolis, on the bridge.

Since 2005, a much smaller vigil has taken place on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Post Road bridge. For over 300 Saturdays, several folks have held a “peace vigil” to draw attention to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Estelle Margolis was there 40 years ago. She’s still working hard for peace. This Saturday from 11-11:30 a.m., she says, “we will ‘celebrate’ the 7th anniversary of our peace vigil, if celebrating is an appropriate word for this serious mission.”

She adds:

We have failed to generate an influential peace movement in this country. I believe it would be different if we had a draft. We do get a lot of honks of approval on the bridge for our message: “End the Wars, Bring the Troops Home!, Get Out of Afghanistan, NOW!”

We will commemorate 7 long years on this Vigil. We are sick about the time we have been trapped in these two countries. President Bush created a living hell that is now 10 years old.

After 10 years we are still in Afghanistan at the insistence of President Karzai, who is known to be corrupt and untrustworthy. We support this fake “democracy” with our troops lives, financial aid and weapons while the Afghans make huge amounts of money exporting heroine. The latest figure estimates over 300,000 acres of poppies are planted every year….

The scene on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge, several years ago.

How many horribly wounded young people could we have saved with a serious nationwide peace movement? How many lives? Over 6,000 dead and over 40,000 wounded. Over 400,000 who are in need of help from the Veterans Administration and a record high number of suicides among returning vets. How many more will there be? What have we done?

Come join us and lend your voice to the call for peace.

Saddam Hussein Comes To Westport

Watch out, Man in the Gray Flannel Suit.  Saddam Hussein is taking your literary place.

The 1955 novel about materialism, conformity and social-climbing began:  

By the time they had lived seven years in the little house on Greentree Avenue in Westport, Connecticut, they both detested it. There were many reasons, none of them logical, but all of them compelling.

Tom Seligson grew up in Westport during those 1950s.  After boarding school (with a classmate named George W. Bush), he’s enjoyed a long career as an Emmy Award-winning TV producer and writer.

Tom Seligson

So it’s no surprise he chose Westport for the setting of his 4th and latest novel, King of Hearts. (Seligson calls the town “Soundview” — a reference to his current Compo Beach home.

What may be surprising is the plot:  2 unsolved mysteries of the Iraq War.

The 1st concerns whatever happened to one of Saddam Hussein’s most feared associates:  the “king of hearts” on the U.S. military’s Most Wanted cards.  He has never been found.

The 2nd mystery is what happened to the $1.5 billion stolen from the Iraq Central Bank at the beginning of the war.  “The government said all the money — which was in euros — was recovered,” Seligson says.  “Of course, they also said the WMD would be easy to find.”

Like the successful formula of “Law & Order,” Seligson wanted those 2 large mysteries to be revealed in the course of a separate, smaller investigation.  A murder in a suburban town seemed a good starting point for his international plot.

A good character to throw into the mix would be a seasoned detective who was an Iraq veteran.  That way, he’d have a personal connection to any unresolved mysteries from the war.

As for Westport:  “It’s always more fun to write about something you know,” Seligson says.  “It gives you a chance to have your characters express your own thoughts and feelings about your home town, whether it’s McMansion fever, or how where you go on vacation becomes a competitive sport.”

Many of the sites in “Soundview” are easily recognized.  The story opens with a murder in a place much like Earthplace; the neighborhood closely resembles Old Hill, where Seligson grew up.  (In 1962 a woman was murdered and her teenage daughter raped and abducted in that very neighborhood.)

Other scenes are set at Compo Beach, the police station, along the Saugatuck River, and at a real estate office like the one that was next to Westport Hardware.  The agent is a colorful character inspired by a larger-than-life soap actress-turned-realtor Seligson knew long ago.

In “Soundview,” people have coffee at Starbucks, and dinner at a barbecue restaurant downtown.

As a good writer, Seligson did plenty of research — even into a town he knows intimately.  To learn more about the life of a Westport policeman, he interviewed his old friend Tony Giunta.  The retired cop “is not to blame for any and all liberties I took,” Seligson notes.

The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit spawned a movie, starring Gregory Peck, Lee J. Cobb and Keenan Wynn.  It was filmed here; the last scene shows Peck getting into a car near  Achorn’s Pharmacy.

No word on who would star if a film version of King of Hearts were filmed in “Soundview.”  But Achorn’s is still here.

(King of Hearts was published last week.  For more information, click here.)