Buoyed by well-wishers who waved and honked support, peace activists gathered Friday at the gates of Hercules Aerospace to protest the continued production of Trident II nuclear missiles.
About 40 protesters, including two on a cross-country trek for peace, stood in a silent vigil at the aerospace plant, carrying signs with such sayings as "Just Say No to Nuclear Addiction," "Make Love Not Weapons" and "Make Golf Clubs Not Weapons.""This is something that is all our problem," said protest organizer Diana Hirschi. "War has become an outdated and insane" method of resolving differences.
Ana Fitz, 56, and Joe Cohen, 39, are walking from Kings Bay, Ga., to Bangor, Wash., to enlighten citizens on the dangers of Trident II missiles, which carry eight nuclear warheads.
The pair left jobs at Atlanta shelters to make the trek and started walking from Georgia in March. They stopped in Salt Lake City on Tuesday and will head to Ogden Saturday en route to Washington, where nuclear-ready submarines are stationed.
The walkers stood in the 90-plus degree heat among a circle of protesters, some wearing black armbands with mushroom clouds stenciled on the cloth. The patch of dirt adjacent to 84th West and Hercules' main gates was littered with remnants of asphalt and an occasional sunflower.
The Agape Community of Salt Lake, a local chapter of a national movement intent on eliminating Trident missiles from the U.S. arsenal, organized the protest at Hercules along with the group called Utah Peace Test.
"Our tendency is not to seek the press," Hirschi said. But the arrival of Cohen and Fitz made the occasion special.
Some people, like the bare-chested motorcycle rider at Hercules, wave and give the peace sign to the two as they hike across the boonies. "We've even (come across) people who don't believe in what we're doing; and yet they're gentle, kind and good people."