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Group Plans To Stretch “Peace Ribbon” From Pentagon To Capitol Hill

August 2, 1985 GMT

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Organizers of an effort to stretch a giant ″peace ribbon″ from the Pentagon to Capitol Hill this weekend made final preparations Friday for a demonstration they hope will attract 50,000 people.

Leaders of The Ribbon sorted through many of the 24,000 hand-sewn ribbon segments made to depict what people couldn’t bear to see destroyed in a nuclear war.

The offices of the Center for a New Creation, a peace group in suburban Arlington, Va., was abuzz with activity as organizers coordinated plans for Sunday’s gathering.

″There are a lot of people here, it’s been wild. There’s a film crew and they are selling T-shirts,″ said P.J. Manion, a volunteer from Louisville, Ky.

Organizers said they expected most demonstrators would begin arriving on Saturday. Many area churches have set aside space to lodge participants, who will also stay in private homes, organizers said.

″We need about 30,000 people to display the ribbon segments, I think there is no doubt will get it,″ said Marie Grosso, an organizer and a coordinator of the center.

She estimated the gathering would attract some 50,000 people by the time the ribbon is stretched around the Pentagon, the Lincoln Memorial and the U.S. Capitol. Demonstrators, each holding an 18-by-36 inch panel, will stand side by side to form the ribbon and mark the 40th anniversary of the atomic bomb blast in Hiroshima, Japan.

By 2 p.m. EDT, organizers plan to have the peace ribbon stretched from the Pentagon, across Memorial Bridge, down the Mall to Capitol Hill. Authorities denied permission for the demonstrators to block streets.

Justine Merritt, a Denver grandmother who said she got the idea while praying in 1982, said ″this is the first statement, this is the first little step″ many people have taken to protest the danger of nuclear war.

″It was a very grass roots wildfire type of movement,″ said Dorothy Ruef, a volunteer from California, who described the project as ″very much like a giant quilting bee.″

″A lot of church groups picked up the idea and spread the word in their newsletters,″ she said. Peace groups did the same.

The Ribbon effort is endorsed by many religious denominations and more established peace organizations like the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy, a group that lobbies in Congress against nuclear weapons.

Organizers plan to present panels to members of Congress to serve as ″a constant reminder of what this is all about,″ said Betty Bumpers, a peace activist and wife of Sen. Dale Bumpers, D-Ark. She said The Ribbon represents people ″asking the leadership to give us an alternative to destruction.″