Nicolas Barcelo, a second grader at Hyannis West Elementary School stands with his parents and members of VFP Cape Cod, Corporal Jeffrey M. Lucey Chapter 041. Nicolas read his poem titled, "My Dad is Fighting for Peace" at the ceremony held after the 2016 Veterans Day Parade in Hyannis, MA. He was one of the award winning poets in the chapter's annual Voices of Peace Poetry Contest. Hundreds of Cape Cod veterans were on hand during the parade to represent service during World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
In September we strenghened our link with the Cape and Islands
Suicide Prevention Coalition by taking part in its annual ribbon ceremony
as part of World Suicide Prevention Awareness Day. We memorialized
Cpl. Jeffrey M. Lucey (in honor of whom our chapter is named) and other
vets who have taken their lives as the result of the 'hidden wounds' of war.
In October, as we again submitted a grant application to the Cape Cod Arts
Foundation to help fund our 22nd annual "Voices of Peace" Poetry Contest,
we also participated with the Cape and Islands Veterans Outreach Center
(CIVOC) and local police departments in a workshop focused on "Police Response
to Veterans in Crisis" which was the first of its kind on the Cape.
Our November focus was on Veterans Day with two actions: the usual
memorial march with other veterans groups and community organizations
in Hyannis which this year featured one of our young 2016 winning poets
reading "My Dad is Fighting for Peace" with his proud veteran father standing
beside him--and both in camo.
Also, several poems written by our young poets were included in a week-long
event around Veterans Day in the "Military, Veteran and Community Art Project"
where young school students interviewed veterans and then created art in
response to their stories. This project culminated in a closing event at the Barnstable
Municipal Airport which was well attended by the community.
In December we completed plans for our poetry contest which runs from January
through April as hundreds of young school students and adults across the Cape
create and submit their " Voices of Peace" and we prepare for the judging and
Awards Ceremony in April, which is National Poetry Month.
We are also starting to talk to other Cape Cod peace and justice groups about
collaborating on a public film event this winter or spring. The local chapter of
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) has partnered
with us before and we hope to 'welcome' in the Trump administration with clear
and strong voices and action for peace and for justice--in the US and around the world.