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.