Pro-soldier demonstrators celebrate 17 years of “honking for peace” in Topeka

Sunny skies and mild temperatures in the 60s on Saturday provided the setting for a handful of hearty Topekans to stand at the corner of S.W. 10th and Gage, just northeast of Fleming Place, and urge motorists to “honk for peace.”

Mary Lou Schmidt said she has been organizing the pro-soldier, pro-peace protests on S.W. Gage every two months for the past 17 years. She said the events have been staged to urge the U.S. government to bring military personnel home from war zones and “any place where our soldiers are in danger of being killed,” she said.

Jeremy Sanchez, Nancy Heitzig, Kathy Wilson, Bill Lucero, Richard Mote and Charles Baylor joined Schmidt on Saturday, waving to drivers at the busy intersection of S.W. 10th and Gage when they honked their horns for peace sign flags and signs that read “Honk to Bring Them Home,” “Honk for Peace” and “Teach Peace! Not War.”

Schmidt said the rallies began 17 years ago at S.W. 17th and Gage, near St. David’s Episcopal Church. She said that location was chosen in part because of small, white wooden crosses that had been placed on the church grounds to honor soldiers who had died while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Schmidt said she has grown even more concerned for soldiers stationed around the world since Donald Trump was elected president.

Contact reporter Angela Deines at (785) 295-1143 or @AngelaDeines on Twitter.

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