If I mention Lafayette Park in Washington, DC, what do you think of? You might think of the pretty statues and flowers planted there. You might think of the homeless people who sleep there overnight and occasionally freeze to death. You might know that it stands across the street from the White House, a building kept guarded and secure behind visible and invisible fences.
If you’ve stepped foot in Lafayette Park any day in the past 28 years, you will have seen something else, sitting directly across from the White House: a tent surrounded by some yellow plywood signs. Have you read the signs? “Don’t Be a Lemming.” “Stay the Course, This Will Happen to You.” A woman named Concepcion Piccioto has been there every day for the past 28 years. It’s her home, a home she shared with William Thomas for more than 27 years until his lungs finally gave out this January. Concepcion Piccioto’s entire life has been given over to one cause and one activity: a constant peace and anti-nuclear vigil in front of the White House.
Some people have said that the definition of insanity is performing the same act, over and over again, even though one has not in the past obtained desired results. Other people have said that this is the definition of perseverance. Is it crazy or simply persistent to hold vigil outside the White House for 28 years, asking for peace?