Since 2002, 78-year-old Schmitt the former president of Agnes Scott College has been part of a group of war protesters that congregated weekly at the Colony Square office building in Midtown (formerly the headquarters of then-Sen. Zell Miller). On Feb. 13, the group, held its last protest.
How long have you been coming to the protest here at Colony Square?
Well, I was at the first one, which was six and a half years ago. We came because Zell Millers offices were up in the Colony Square [building], so thats where it started. And I remember one member standing next to me, she said, We need to do this every week.
So Ive been coming except when I was out of town, or I guess maybe I missed once because it really was too cold. But mostly were out here whether its, whether its cold.
How many times in the last six and a half years have you been here?
Well, Im sure its over 200 times.
What was your motivation for coming?
I guess maybe I wanted to be proud to be an American again. The morning after the [2008 presidential] election I sat on the edge of my bed and said, Im proud to be an American. I havent been for so long. I am a pacifist. And I really became one in the Vietnam War. I used to call myself an untested pacifist, but were always having wars, so now I know its real.
In terms of being a pacifist, what do you mean when you say that
Well you dont believe in war as an answer to anything, and youre basically nonviolent with anything from your personal life to international relations. It does not mean being passive. My parents were brought up Mennonites. My father was a conscientious objector to World War I, but he became pretty hawkish by the Second World War.
How do you think the Iraq war will end?
Well, I hope that Obama doesnt slip or that he promised too much. Im afraid but since hes declared that he wants the troops out, thats why were stopping the protests. We recognize we cant just pull the troops out now, not when its such a mess.
We like to think we contributed a little bit. The mood changed throughout the years. First some honked for peace signs. Then people honked even if there wasnt a peace sign out on the street.
(Photo by Joeff Davis)
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