September 27, 2004


Town at war over 'peace monument' (Bruce Hutchinson, National Post, September 27th, 2004)

Fox News producers learned of a local plan, hatched this month, to celebrate and memorialize thousands of U.S. draft dodgers and war objectors who ran to Canada during the war in Vietnam. Dozens are said to have settled here, in this bucolic, mountainside community 700 kilometres east of Vancouver.

The Fox crew arrived last week, and its story was broadcast internationally.

Nelson's city hall was immediately flooded with angry phone calls, e-mails and letters, most of them from furious Americans vowing never to set foot here again.

The dodgy celebration is the brainchild of a small group with an excruciatingly long name, and an equally cumbersome acronym: the Reunion Committee to Reunite War Resisters and Those Who Assisted Them during the Vietnam War, or RCRWRTWATDVW.

Leading the group is Isaac Romano, a local child therapist who moved here from Seattle five years ago. He envisions a ''spectacular'' weekend of discussion, and the premiere of a feature- length documentary about American war objectors in Canada.

What really seemed to rankle Fox viewers, however, is RCRWRTWATDVW's plan to unveil a metal sculpture meant to honour male and female war objectors, and Canada's role in welcoming them from the U.S. The work will depict a trio of people holding hands.

''If you think a monument to yellow belly cowards is going to somehow give a sense of respectfulness to these shameful Americans, who turned their backs on their country, you are sadly mistaken,'' one angry American wrote in an e-mail to city hall. ''I for one will never visit your town and spend a thin dime ever again, if this thing is built.''

That was among the milder comments the city received.

Contrary to popular belief, the Canadian component of RCRWRTWATDVW was not motivated by anti-Americanism. They were on a purely humanitarian mission. Somebody had to teach those guys macrame fast or they would have starved.

Posted by Peter Burnet at September 27, 2004 8:26 PM

"a local child therapist who moved here from Seattle five years ago"

So that's why McDermott's win margins haven't been as big the last two elections.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at September 27, 2004 8:39 PM

Is RCRWRTWATDVW pronounced "rysser-wert-what-devew"?

Posted by: Just John at September 27, 2004 10:10 PM

Tis' a pity because Nelson is a beautiful town. I believe they filmed that old Steve Martin film, Roxanne, in Nelson, B.C.

Unfortunately, the brave Canada of the Dieppe Raid and other exploits is gone and never to return. Canada is a nation of moody 16 year olders.

Posted by: pchuck at September 28, 2004 10:13 AM

If this happens, I plan to make my way up there and protest every once in a while. The trick will be to not spend any money in the town whilst doing so.

Posted by: Timothy at September 28, 2004 10:52 AM

That all the draft dodgersand deserters were not forced to live out their worthless lives in exile is just one more thing for which we may thank the party of acid, amnesty and abortion.

Posted by: Lou Gots at September 28, 2004 11:26 AM

I don't hold Canadians responsible for the draft dodgers. After all, it wasn't their war.

But as such, for what reason do Canadians have to memorialize it? They have none for the same reason no one builds memorials to wars they never fought in. This is purely a draft dodger program, and this town should have had pride enough to not assist them in it.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at September 28, 2004 12:01 PM

Just John:
Is RCRWRTWATDVW pronounced "rysser-wert-what-devew"?

nah, I believe it's:

geez, some people.

Posted by: JonofAtlanta at September 28, 2004 4:00 PM