COLUMBUS, GEORGIA-Since 1989 peace activists have held a vigil outside of the School of the Americas at Fort Benning Army Base in Columbus, Georgia. Now renamed the Western Hemispheric Institute for Security Cooperation, the school continues to train Latin American soldiers in military tactics including sniper training, and torture tactics. Many of these human rights abuses have been documented and reported that date back to the 1940’s. In more recent years, SOA graduates have been discovered to have played major roles in the 2009 military coup in Honduras that set off an escalation of human rights abuses that KGNU has documented ever since.
Every year in November the organization called the School of the Americas Watch holds a vigil to honor the lives of the men, women, and children killed by graduates of the school. Also every year members of Veterans for Peace hold an annual march.
The Veterans for Peace march has begun the final day of the School of the Americas Watch Vigil for years. This year about 100 veterans of war who are working for peace marched early Sunday morning and then entered the driveway to the gates of Fort Benning calling for the closing of the School of the Americas.