Peace Park Vigil

Park History -- Current Situation -- Vigilers Past and Present -- Upcoming Events

Since June 3, 1981, nine years to the day before tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square, signs calling for "Wisdom and Honesty," justice and nuclear disarmament have stood every day and night in front of the White House.

To those who maintain perhaps the longest continuous vigil in human history , the signs represent the ancient right -- Thomas Jefferson may have termed it "the duty" -- of people in a democracy to nonviolently voice opinions on issues of broad public concern, even if it means they must go to prison for their beliefs.

According to National Park Service figures, the signs have been seen by over three million people a year. To the public, those who maintain the vigil arouse a spectrum of perceptions. The 1991 and 1994 Berlitz Travel Guide for Washington, DC pictured the vigil over the caption, "It's the right of every American to set up stand and make a point in Lafayette Park."

Those who share the materialistic values symbolized by the White House may view the vigil as "visual blight." Five presidents have, with varying degrees of patience, endured and reduced the vigilers' presence.

The Washington Times and Washington Post have called the vigilers "weirdos" and "lunatics" and the signs "eyesores," "gibberish" and "junk."

On the other extreme, there are those who, valuing life, view the policies of the White House as slightly "mad," who believe that the vigil reflects sanity.

Some journalists have been more than tolerant, have even likened the vigilers to saints, prophets, and even beautiful!

Actually the vigilers are just trying to practice what they preach. They still have hope for humanity. They believe someday, if they hold on long enough, people might wake up to their own responsibilities and begin, at last, to act compassionately, wisely, honestly. For this, and for the children, they endure harsh weather, the whims of police, and abusive behavior by hostile bystanders. For they know they're not alone.

So, the vigil continues... working for peace, hoping for humanity.

Regulations | Legal Cases
Pennsylvania Ave. Closure
1776 thru 1980 | 1981-Reagan
1989-Bush | 1993-Clinton
Vigilers Past
The Vigil and The Law
Back to Beginning | Proposition One