LANSING, Mich. — Every Friday, since Sept. 14, 2001, a group of people here in Lansing has gathered in hopes of making the world a better place through peace.
“There’s people working on peace all the time and we just need to keep up,” said volunteer Barb Burns-Briggs.
For 20 years, the men and women have gathered outside the Capitol with signs and friendly waves. Rain or shine, the peace vigils have gone on for 1,032 Fridays since the terrorists attacks on 9/11.
“That day was pretty scary,” said volunteer Gary Lee. “I was a lab supervisor at LCC and I stopped to get coffee and I saw the plane hit on the TV.”
Lee and his wife, Pat, have been coming to the vigils for years, and while the weekly demonstrations began after 9/11, the focus expanded after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
“Back in 2003, when they invaded Iraq, there were 30 people here,” Lee said. “We had to march from Martin Luther King and there was a really big protest here.”
For some of the vigil volunteers, spreading love and peace together builds a sense of camaraderie.
"We have a group of people that we like and get along with, and we like to talk to and just sit with so there’s a nice social aspect to it also,” said Pat Lee.
The vigils are held every Friday from noon to 1 p.m. If you want to join, volunteers say they’re always open to expanding their group.