When we were young


To the Editor:

I am writing to add another voice and memories to the article titled “Thirty years later: Looking back on the Vineyard Peace Concert ’86,” in The MV Times dated July 28 by Dean Rosenthal.

I knew Donna Bouchard back then, and through her I met Jacalyn Kane when I found out about their plans to hold a peace concert on the grounds of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. I wanted in. I was excited about the idea of the project and the possibility of working for these two women and helping make their idea into a reality. What I brought to the plate was the ability to gather a security staff that was trained in crowd control and working together in difficult and trying conditions.

I approached my men in First Squad, Third Platoon, B Company, 1st Battalion, 182nd Inf., Yankee Division, Massachusetts National Guard. To a man, all my squad mates wanted to attend and work the concert as security staff. In addition, I signed up two of my best friends and squad leaders in the same platoon to help me in planning the security for the event.

The obvious juxtaposition of using National Guard troops to lend security to a peace concert made the whole proposition inviting to me. Besides my “men,” additional help for security for the event was recruited from the local Island population, two of whom I still see on a regular basis here on-Island.

They met each other at the concert, started dating, got married, and raised their family here. In addition, a couple of my troops got hitched after the event. One of my buddies I mentioned earlier, a fellow squad leader, brought along a female sergeant from the platoon headquarters to help at the concert. They got married six months after the concert, had two children, and raised their family in Wakefield. I think it’s a great outcome for the peace concert.

I also got my dad involved, and had him draw up a scale layout of the high school grounds, which helped us in our decisionmaking on traffic flow, parking, walking lanes, and where EMS was to be stationed. The amount of work getting ready for the concert was staggering, and I can tell you that that great event would never have happened without the vision, planning, cajoling, decisionmaking, and just plain hard work by our leaders, Jacalyn and Donna. And I would like to thank them both for giving me the opportunity and experience to meet such great and talented musicians.

I will never forget having a one-on-one with John Kerry, a most gracious person who reminded me of another politico I had the great fortune of meeting twice and speaking with: Ted Kennedy. We have been blessed in our commonwealth to have such a group of high-caliber, foresighted, and tireless public servants, and still are.

Now, 30 years later, I once again find myself wholeheartedly ready to follow and help another woman with vision for all of us. I’m with her.

Eric Poehler

Vineyard Haven