Saturday, January 24, 2009

William Thomas Dies

William Thomas, dedicated peace and anti-nuke activist, passed away Friday morning at home. He was co-pilot of the 24-hour seven-day a week vigil at the White House for 27 years. He is survived by his wife Ellen and vigil co-pilot Concepcion. I remember Thomas from my high school years years early in on his vigil. Millions of people from hundred of countries visited Thomas as he kept vigiling, warning them of the dangers of nuclear holocaust and the ravages of war. He will be greatly missed by the peace and justice movement.

An excerpt from an article in The Washington Post by David Montgomery, published a couple years ago:

WASHINGTON — William Thomas first introduced fanny to brick on the White House sidewalk on June 3, 1981. His sign said, "Wanted: Wisdom and Honesty." He's been there ever since, still squatting, still wanting.

A few months after he began, he was joined by Concepcion Picciotto, who has remained similarly steadfast.

War is not over, but the peace protesters have won. Sort of. Lafayette Square, the oasis of green across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, is theirs.

Get rid of the shelter made of a battered patio umbrella, a weathered plastic tarp and those faded anti-nuke signs erected by Thomas and Picciotto?

It wouldn't be the same park.

Tourists from such places as Beijing and Chicago no longer would flash peace signs for digital cameras. School groups would make one less stop. Tour-guide shticks would shrink by a sentence or two.


Michelle said...

It is extremely rare to find someone on this earth who speaks and lives the truth; who lives the life that his principles dictate, who lives by his ideals. Thomas was a mentor for me when I met him in 1985. He chose to live by his ideals which brought him to create the vigil in front of the White House, he brought me to that same vigil. The lessons I learned there are with me to this very day, and I am deeply saddened to hear the news of his death. PEACE be with you THOMAS.
-this is written by Andhi

Anonymous said...

Truth be told, he set up a tax exempt identification to keep the IRS from taxing an inheritance. He "USED" the people such as Conception and other "migrant" homeless to work the site. It was established as a non-profit in order to set up a tax shelter. So, shame on him for misleading people who are psychologically ill in order to keep the IRS from taxing him. Wake up Michelle.

PeteinDC said...

He worked on something he truly believed in, and Concepcion continues doing so to this day (as does his wife Ellen but in a different capacity). I disagreed with some of Thomas' approach and his alcoholism eventually killed him. But Proposition One was and continues to be a reality that was born from the vigil. So, frankly, I see no reason to fault Thomas and Ellen for obtaining 501(c)3 status.