We had one last Saturday for Hiroshima Day. It was wonderfully hot and sunny. Our next one is on Monday. We always stand by the pedestrian bridge by the river Wye, over which the hundreds of tourists pour on the way from the car park. They see a bunch of Quakers standing silently holding placards and wonder what's going on. Some try to read the slogans, some walk straight past, eyes ahead, some stop and stare. Occasionally someone will take a photo - one time it was a teacher taking the photo to discuss with her class, and last week it was a visitor from Northern Ireland who thought what we were doing was worthwhile.
Children are generally interested. Some parents hurry them away, wordlessly. Some parents stop and explain what is going on and why we are there and what the placards mean.
Some visitors are struck first by the powerful silence and then realise what is going on. They have told us this.
On Saturday a friend stood with us whose son and family live near Hiroshima. Her daughter-in-law is Japanese and grew up in Hiroshima, and she was very touched to hear that on the other side of the globe, people were standing in silent remembrance and solidarity with Hiroshima.
I've made a list of slogans for new placards and am currently seeing which people think are the most powerful, bearing in mind they have to be short to be large enough to be easily read from a distance, and the idea must be easily grasped by someone hurrying past. This is the list. Which do you think is the best one for the job? the current favourites are 11 and 13.
1/ Everything you do in war is a crime in peace. Helen McCloy
2/ All war is a failure of man as a thinking animal. Steinbeck
3/ Killing innocent people is the problem, not the solution
4/ What if there were a war and nobody came?
5/ Let's Try Pre-emptive Peace
6/ Peace Takes Brains
7/ There Is No Path To Peace - Peace IS The Path
8/ If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention
9/ War is so last century
10/ Kill one person it’s murder, kill thousands, it’s foreign policy
11/ Arms are for hugging
12/ Make tea not war
13/ People need bread not bombs
14/ What is morally wrong cannot be politically right.
15/ We must learn to live together as brothers or all die together as fools. MLK