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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Against proud tradition

Thanks to military but not for the SOA

I was one of an estimated 12,000 who gathered last November at the gate of the U.S. Army School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Ga., to demonstrate for its closing. That month marked the 10th anniversary of the massacre of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter by a Salvadoran army patrol at the University of Central America in San Salvador. Nineteen of the 26 Salvadoran officers cited for the massacre by the U.N. Truth Commission had trained at the SOA. In memory of this massacre and the martyrdom of thousands of innocent civilians, the solemn marchers carried wooden caskets and crosses. As the martyrs' names were read, demonstrators responded, "Presente." The message was clear: "Stop the violence; close the school." Some from our group were arrested.


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