1 on the fence holds a peace symbol, wears yellow ribbon
Those who support the Persian Gulf war decorate their homes and cars with American flags and yellow ribbons. They also wear them on their lapels.
Those who protest the war use peace symbols and banners. But what do you do if you are a peace activist who wants to support the troops without supporting the war?
"Pray for our Troops," one of the variations seen around town, is a nice hedge. But perhaps the most striking display of ambivalence is the mannequin behind the bar at Louie's Book Store and Cafe on Charles Street, which carries a peace symbol banner and sports a yellow ribbon around its left thigh.
OPERATION HEARTLINE MEETING
Operation Heartline, a support group for Annapolis-area families and friends with loved ones in the Persian Gulf, will hold its first meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the lower-level assembly room of the Conte Building, 116 Defense Highway.
Organizers say the group will provide a forum for participants to discuss their feelings and concerns with counselors specially trained in handling stress and anxiety.
Lt. Cmdr. Michael John, public affairs officer for the U.S. Naval Academy, is to be the guest speaker at the first meeting.
Operation Heartline also plans to develop several projects for members, the first being to establish a clearinghouse of information and available services.
For more information, or to volunteer for Operation Heartline, call Sandy at 849-2237, or January at 268-6735.
VIGIL FOR PEACE
The Anne Arundel County chapter of Maryland Sane/Freeze is to hold a candlelight vigil for peace in the Persian Gulf at 7 p.m. Friday at St. Anne's Episcopal Church on Church Circle in Annapolis.
An interfaith service is to precede the vigil at 6:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend both the service and the vigil. Sane/Freeze is a national peace organization.
For more information, call 263-7409.
FREE LEGAL HELP
Families of soldiers serving in Operation Desert Storm can get additional free legal advice, thanks to a volunteer program being offered by the Maryland State Bar Association.
The families already get help from the offices of the Judge Advocate General of the various branches of the service, said Janet Stidman Eveleth, director of communications for the state bar. But JAG lawyers are being deluged with requests, said Eveleth, prompting the bar association to call for volunteers from among its 15,000 members.
Forty-five lawyers with various specialties have volunteered to make themselves available, Eveleth said.
"So far, most of the questions have been on financial matters," she said, but other areas include landlord-tenant matters, repossessions and leaves of absence from work.
The program can be reached at 1-800-492-1964.
FLAG AT THE GAS STATION
President Bush insists that the war has nothing to do with oil. A sign at a Towson Sunoco station doesn't seem to agree. It urges: "BACK OUR TROOPS. FREE FLAG WITH ULTRA FILL-UP."
Seven cemeteries in Western Maryland are offering free burial for soldiers killed in the Persian Gulf war, but they hope no one has a need for the offer.
"I spent four years in the Marine Corps in the Pacific during World War II and I just thought it might be a good idea -- a nice gesture," said Geoffrey B. Freeman, who owns Cedar Lawn Memorial Park in Hagerstown.
Freeman and other members of the Western Maryland Cemetery Alliance have agreed to donate all costs for a burial service, including the lot, vault and grave opening.
"We don't want publicity," Freeman said. "I just want to feel I'm contributing something. I don't know what else I can say about it. God, I hope we don't have to do any of this."
Most war veterans can be buried free at state and national veterans cemeteries, but Freeman said some families want their loved ones buried closer to home.
Jack Maynard, president of the Maryland Freestate Cemetery Association, said his Hillcrest Memorial Gardens in Annapolis would offer free burial if asked, and suspected others in the 60-member association would follow suit.
Other members of the Western Maryland alliance are: Garrett County Memorial Gardens in Oakland; Rest Haven Cemetery in Hagerstown; Rest Haven Memorial Gardens and Linden Hills Cemetery in Frederick County; Rest Lawn Memorial Gardens in LaVale; and Sunset Memorial Park in Cumberland.
If you know of an interesting story of how the war is affecting people on the home front, please call 332-6478.
PERSIAN GULF SHOWDOWN
Laura Lippman, Monica Norton, Glenn Small and the Associated Press contributed to this story.