Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Waitsfield, Vermont offers over 80 hands-on courses per year in design, construction, woodworking, and architectural craft and offers a variety of courses concentrating in sustainable design. Now in its 35th year, Yestermorrow is one of the only design/build schools in the country, teaching both design and construction skills. Our hands-on 1-day to 3-week workshops, certificate programs and semester programs are taught by top architects, builders, and craftspeople from across the country. For people of all ages and experience levels, from novice to professional.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A thank you

Dear friends and neighbors,

In honor of Veterans Day, I’d like to take this opportunity to recognize the efforts of the Mad River Valley Veterans for Peace. In October 2005 they came together to organize a powerful memorial to soldiers killed in the Iraq war through the planting of white flags in honor of each fallen soldier. After displaying the flags at the Vermont Statehouse, they asked us at Yestermorrow if they could put them in our field along Route 100, and later expanded the memorial to include soldiers killed in Afghanistan as well. For the past six years it has been an honor for us to be able to host this memorial. Hundreds of people have stopped to experience the memorial close up, and many thousands more have driven by it. It has inspired many similar displays across the country. And the Veterans for Peace have diligently maintained the memorial, updated the numbers, mowed the field, and planted new flags. In particular I’d like to thank Ned Kelley, Jito Coleman, Russ Bennett and the many other volunteers for organizing this effort.

For the past few months a conversation has been evolving within this group about what should happen to the flag memorial over time. Simultaneously, at Yestermorrow we’ve been thinking about how we can best use our campus to demonstrate regenerative design principles and practices. As a result of these conversations we’ve decided together to bring the flag memorial to an end and move forward with plans to rebuild the soil in the field and return it to agricultural use. This won’t happen overnight, but over the next few years we will partner with our neighbors at Kingsbury Market Garden to bring in new soil, amendments, compost, and cover crops to build nutrients and eventually grow and harvest crops on this small field.
As one chapter ends, new opportunities emerge. Thanks again to all who have helped make the white flag memorial such a meaningful tribute to the American men and women who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Kate Stephenson
Executive Director, Yestermorrow Design/Build School

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:31 AM

    From Jito Coleman, one of the organizers of the memorial:

    Six years after our first installation on the State house lawn, when the war was just 2 and a half years old, our casualty count was only 1912, to now when we count 4,483 official US military death in Iraq the US is finally leaving Iraq.

    The Iraq war is “officially” over and US troops are being brought home.

    We are taking down the Iraq Memorial on Route 100. The site is being transformed into productive agriculture fields by Yestermorrow. With top soil left by the flood waters this field will soon be rehabilitated.

    So on this Veteran’s Day it is fitting to see the retirement of a living memorial to those that have given their lives. This memorial is but a meager attempt to bear witness to our brothers and sisters who gave their lives. Intended to simply provide a visual context to the price that was being paid; by them and by us.

    The silent Memorial spoke volumes. School children track the numbers on their daily rides, visitors from wide and far, stopped, photographed and fell silent for a few moments of reflection. Soaking in the magnitude of the tears, the pain and the loss. Mementos arrived, pictures, poems, stories, songs, flowers, flags.

    It made you think, it made you feel.

    We are now entering a new phase with this war behind us. Let’s hope we have all learned.

    As the bumper sticker says “I already don’t like the next war”.