Eleven years ago this week, ahead of the NATO Summit in Chicago in May 2012, I wrote messages with spray paint on the roof of my home in my Portage Park, Chicago neighborhood for world leaders to read as they traveled in military helicopters passing low and loud overhead en route to the Summit venue at McCormick Place.
On May 20, 2012, I also attended the mass protest and marched in opposition to NATO and its global hegemony and destruction.
Also on that day, in one of the most profoundly moving and humbling experiences of my life, while standing shoulder to shoulder with thousands of others, I listened to personal stories of war — of killing, death, rape, horror, pain, guilt and grief — from both U.S./NATO soldiers and the victims of those wars.
I witnessed from just yards away, as Jacob George, by then a warrior, no longer a soldier, along with warrior Scott Olsen (a former Marine, Iraq War veteran, Occupy veteran, and Oakland Police terror survivor) and 43 other war veterans-turned-warriors tossed their military service medals across the CPD police-enforced, Secret Service barricade toward the protected U.S./NATO generals, the policy-makers, and world “leaders” comfortably ensconced and insulated at McCormick Place at the NATO Summit in a gathering of war-makers.
“A warrior is someone who takes his orders from the heart, not some outside force."
- Jacob George
The U.S./NATO war generals, in cowardice, would not agree to meet in person with the men and women who served in their wars and conflicts to ceremoniously accept the return of those unwanted, inglorious war service medals. Those medals were publicly rebuked and surrendered to the asphalt at Michigan Avenue and Cermak Road nonetheless.
on September 17th, 2014
died by suicide.
After the act of disavowing the war medals, We, The People were told to disburse and vacate the area — when we didn’t — and attempted to march forward toward McCormick Place to encounter the World’s warmakers face to face — or at least be seen and heard by them, several hundreds were kettled by Chicago cops and Illinois State Police — resulting in resistance by We, The People and physical and verbal clashes, police violence and protester arrests.