To the Editors:
The Covered Wagon Coffeehouse, in Mountain Home, Idaho, organized by active duty servicemen and women and civilian supporters as part of a GI project, was burned to the ground on Sunday, November 21. This followed repeated harassment and threats from elements in the local community. On Thursday, November 18, a member of the project was beaten up inside the coffeehouse; on Saturday night, November 20, the premises were illegally entered and the words, “This is just a warning,” were painted on the wall.
The Covered Wagon was an old theater which GIs converted, with many hours of hard work, into a meeting place for their off-base activities. These include publication of their newspaper, The Helping Hand, military counseling on GI rights, women’s meetings, political education sessions, music groups, and work with local people, such as The Idaho Migrants Program. In short, the project, which offers an alternative to the daily abuses of the military system, used the coffeehouse as its center.
We feel the GI Movement must have the support of all people who desire a quick end to the war in Indochina. The active duty men and women at Mountain Home Air Force Base tell us that their organization is stronger than ever now, due to this incident and their growing awareness of the necessity to organize together for a world free of militarism. We want to help them re-establish a new center. Can you help us by sending a contribution immediately to the Covered Wagon, PO Box 729, Mountain Home, Idaho 83647? Or a tax deductible contribution may be made to the United States Servicemen’s Fund, 44 Greenwich Ave., NY, NY 10011, which has supported the Covered Wagon and similar projects.
December 30, 1971