Chattering Mind

It always amazes me when the word—or symbol for—”peace” upsets people.

A couple in Pagosa Springs, Colo. was recently told by a community association to remove a peace sign-shaped wreath from outside their house, reports The New York Times, lest they be fined $25 a day. They told the couple the symbol was politically divisive and one member later said it looked like “a sign of the devil.”

When outrage broke out, the three members of the homeowner’s association resigned and neighbors held a march, hung their own symbols, and created a 300-foot peace sign on a local soccer field.

One of the sign’s owners said all he meant to promote was world peace.

This all brings back vivid memories from my Quaker boarding school days during the first Iraq war. A bunch of students wove blue garbage bags into a chainlink fence on our property that faced a highway to read “peace.” Oh, the calls, the harassments, the threats. The school was inundated with demands for its removal. It was my first experience of wide-eyed shock at how something that seemed so instrinsic to me, so “duh” as to be cliché, could be so controversial.

We debated long and hard at our community meeting—I lost all respect for the librarian who suggested we take it down to avoid conflict—but ultimately, peace won.

And it looks like it’s winning in Colorado. It still boggles my mind though, that it was ever a question in the first place. You know?

What are your peace-sign associations? Do you wear them, hang them, think they’re bad?

By Valerie Reiss. Amy’s on vacation.

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