Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"People Magazine" coverage is all we could get from the P. Journal

RHINEBECK — A strong activist for peace and a Korean War veteran (served in Korea, was not a child soldier), Fred Nagel has joined and helped to create multiple peace organizations throughout Dutchess County. Nagel, with longtime friend Linda Curtis and a few others, established the Dutchess Peace Coalition about eight years ago. This holiday season, he is taking his personal mission for peace to the Middle East.
"Fred and I both had a common interest of promoting peace, we wanted to educate people about the misdirected war in Iraq," said Curtis, as to why they began the group and remain committed to their cause.
While many were surrounded by loved ones and enjoying the holiday season, Nagel traveled to Cairo along with 14 other local residents.
On Monday, he is to take part in a freedom march in the Palestinian city of Gaza. He said they hope the march will send a message to the U.S. government, a supporter of Israel, that the blockade placed upon Gaza is a violation of human rights.
"It's honorable," Curtis said. "It takes guts to put yourself in potential danger in order to fight for what you believe in."
As an active member of the Dutchess Peace Coalition, Nagel has shown monthly movies, served as a disc jockey on a local radio show that airs from Vassar College, and organized several protests.
"Being a veteran made me more aware of the price people pay for an aggressive government," Nagel said. "I'm friends with many Vietnam veterans as well, and I've seen the effect war had on them."
Public education is Nagel's main focus when it comes to promoting peace.
The Dutchess Peace Coalition has spent time in local high schools informing young people about the options they have other than joining the military.
"I worked with high school students for many years," Nagel said. "I've seen a multitude of ill-informed youth join the military because they didn't think they had another choice."
The Sisters City Project was another cause that Nagel strongly supported.
He worked hard to help raise money and get supplies to send to Nicaragua, a country that is close to his heart after he traveled there in the 1980s.
Nagel has urged others to read a diverse collection of media sources, meet with local activist groups and become involved with their local community, whatever they believe.
"I've always had a strong sense of fairness," Nagel said. "I have lived by the quote from the U.S. Declaration of Independence that everyone is entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
To Nagel, being active is just part of his everyday life. Nagel stresses the importance of people looking out for others and doing what they can to promote unity and peace.
"I do all of this simply to keep sanity in a world that can sometimes look very depressing," Nagel said. "It's good to stay active and do what you can to stand up for the things you feel strongly about."
Fred Nagel

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