People will gather across Newport-Mesa today to observe the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq War.
Gatherings range from waving signs at passing cars to quiet reflection and prayer.
Fairview Community Church members have been lighting candles and gathering on the street corner outside of the church each Wednesday during Lent to pray for peace.
The gatherings will culminate with a vigil for peace in Iraq at 6:30 tonight in front of the church, 2525 Fairview Road, in Costa Mesa.
“Marking the anniversary of anything is important because it gives us intentionality,” said the Rev. Sarah Halverson, of Fairview Community Church. “What we’ve been doing on a weekly basis is setting time aside to think to think about where we are — and we really believe this war needs to end, as a church.”
Marking the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the conflict is both discouraging and an inspiration to raise awareness for Costa Mesa resident Laura Van de Merghel, who has organized local peace vigils periodically throughout the past five years.
Van de Merghel will gather with friends and strangers at 7 tonight at Newport Boulevard and 19th Street for a vigil she organized through moveon.org.
The group will light candles and wave signs as part of the national “New Priorities” campaign to end the war through moveon.org.
“I think just talking [and] having a presence raises awareness,” Van de Merghel said.
“It’s so easy to live in Orange County where everything is beautiful, but there are a lot of bad things going on in the world.”
Fairview Community Church peace vigil 6:30 p.m. tonight, 2525 Fairview Road in Costa Mesa
New Priorities Vigil 7 p.m. tonight at the corner of Newport Boulevard and 19th Street in Costa Mesa
Peace prayer service and vigil 7:30 p.m. tonight at St. Mark Presbyterian Church, 2200 San Joaquin Road in Newport Beach
BRIANNA BAILEY may be reached at (714) 966-4625 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.