Remembering a DeLand veteran who worked for peace

November 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured Stories, Veterans Issues

 

(BY PHILIP C. RESTINO JR.)   It’s been a year since we lost Jimmy Capp. I first met Jimmy in 2005, when we were organizing the Central Florida Chapter of Veterans for Peace.

Veterans for Peace (VFP) is a national veterans organization, formed in 1985, that is dedicated to restraining our servant government from intervening — overtly and covertly — in the internal affairs of other nations, and to abolishing the practice of making war an instrument of national policy.

As a Vietnam veteran, Jimmy Capp knew firsthand the terrible costs of war and the injustices resulting from invading and occupying other nations militarily.

Realizing that our country was getting itself into another “Vietnam all over again,” this local member of Veterans for Peace went right to work helping to organize the weekly anti-war demonstration in DeLand, which was held on Wednesday afternoons at the corner of Woodland Boulevard and New York Avenue.

Also in 2005, the East Central Florida chapter of CodePink Women for Peace was being organized by local women whose loved ones had also fought in Vietnam, and who knew very well the price paid by the families and the veterans themselves trying to live normal lives after their experiences with war.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN
Making his stand — Vietnam veteran Jimmy Capp makes his position clear at a demonstration in 2006 on the corner of New York Avenue and Woodland Boulevard. Capp died in 2011.

Jimmy was an instant hit with the women of CodePink when he showed up to their demonstrations in hot-pink, high-top sneakers, and with his young daughter Desirae in tow. You see, they all had learned the preciousness of life, and the importance of having fun along the way.

The hope on that corner, during those demonstrations, was that the American people would not allow our servant government to once again throw away the lives of tens of thousands of its young men and women in another drawn-out, undeclared and unconstitutional war for profit based on lies, and that — instead — the people would stand up and speak out strongly against it.

In the years to follow, Jimmy continued the Wednesday-night demonstrations in DeLand, as well as his involvement with Veterans for Peace activities throughout Central Florida.

There were plenty of veterans in West Volusia who knew all too well the waste of Vietnam, and there was Stetson University right up the road, chock-full of young, energetic and ideological students. Certainly they would come out and add their voices and stand with Jimmy and the others, right?

Yet as the deadly U.S. wars and occupations abroad continued for the next five or six years — and continue to this very day with no end in sight — the DeLand demonstration, instead of growing in numbers, dwindled to nothing.

The war-makers had learned from Vietnam: Next time, don’t have a draft, and buy up the media so as to sufficiently control the message.

This Veterans Day, when you want to thank a veteran “for his service,” how about thanking Jimmy Capp, by getting out to New York Avenue and Woodland Boulevard and taking his spot.

Let’s get our troops home now, and take care of them when they get here.

— Restino, of Port Orange, is a member of Veterans for Peace, an organization of veterans working together for peace and justice through nonviolence since 1985. For more information about the Central Florida Chapter, visit www.cflveteransforpeace.org or call 386-788-2918.

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