A small crowd held a candle light vigil on Friday evening in support of their peers gathering at Fort Benning in the US this weekend in protest against the School of Americas.

Vigil for non-violence held in Nelson

As thousands converge on Fort Benning a small group of locals braved the cold for a candle light vigil in Nelson on Friday evening.

As thousands converge on Fort Benning, Georgia this weekend, a small group of locals braved the cold for a candle light vigil in Nelson on Friday evening.

Their aim is to see the School of Americas; a training ground for Latin American soldiers on US soil shut down thus putting an end to “oppressive US Foreign Policy.”

Castlegar’s Bud Godderis is part of the School of Americas watch and has been to Fort Benning where he says participating in the peaceful demonstrations has changed his life.

“It has had a big influence on me being associated with the movement and the people I’ve met from all over, like minded people, coming together in non-violence,” said the pacifist concerned with the numerous deaths he says are a result of US military training.

Godderis has done human rights work in Central America for many years and got involved with the School of Americas watch in support of a Jesuit priest friend.

Demonstrations against the military school have been happening since the early 1980s and Godderis says they have always been non-violent.

About 15 people participated in the vigil outside City Hall sharing stories, thoughts about the School of Americas and singing songs, something that is done in earnest by crowds gathered outside Fort Benning.

This story will appear in the West Kootenay Advertiser on November 28.