If anything, last Sunday night's candlelight vigil for peace at the Weehawken's Soldiers and Sailors Monument brought neighbors together who never knew each other beforehand.
Take for instance two people who helped to spread the word about the event, namely Jim Dette and Ellen Lancaster.
Although they live only a few blocks apart, Dette and Lancaster never met each other before word started to spread about the vigil.
But through word of mouth, a few fliers and e-mails, Dette, Lancaster and another dedicated peace believer, Lauren Sherman, were able to get approximately 100 Weehawken residents out to express their concerns about the pending war in Iraq.
It was organized as part of the international plea for peace, with more than 450 sites in 40 countries throughout the world organizing vigils at the same time. Bishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela were part of the international group organizing the vigils.
Lauren Sherman found out about the organization and started to spread the word on her own. So did Dette. As did Lancaster.
"I felt it was something that we should participate in," Lancaster said. "I felt it was important to participate. I'm not exactly anti-war, but I'm pro-peace. I just wanted to be able to do something. It's something I felt strongly about. I just felt there was an inevitable progress towards war. If I had a chance to help plan a vigil in our town, I was going to do it. I put out a bunch of e-mails and waited to see what happened."
Dette also had a sense of helplessness.
"I know we weren't able to stop it," said Dette, who formed a group called "Weehawken for Peace" nearly three decades ago. "But events like this could perhaps change the attitude and get more recruits to our side. Maybe we can send a message to our government that war is something we do not tolerate."
The vigil began in silence. There wasn't the solemn prayer or moving moments, like other candlelight vigils at the site that honored those who perished in the World Trade Center tragedy. It was just a gathering of concerned citizens.
"I was quite impressed with the turnout," Dette said. "I thought it was an excellent showing. People came and were very excited by it. It showed that many Weehawken people share the same views."
One unidentified woman spoke about what peace meant to her. Then there was a moment of silence, with each participant holding a candle.
"There wasn't much talking," Dette said. "I think it was powerful and moving. I think it was a show of concern for the direction the country is going in. I was just hopeful that it accomplished something."
Three days later, U.S. troops unleashed their first series of aerial attacks against Iraq, beginning the war in the "Showdown with Saddam."
"Maybe it's just the area, but everyone I talk to is against it," Lancaster said. "It's really sad. I don't think the war is something we would have voted for. I think these decisions for war were made long ago. Wednesday was a sad day of inevitability. I really have this feeling of helplessness."
However, Lancaster was definitely encouraged by the turnout.
"I met so many people there that I never met before," Lancaster said. "In that way, there was a total sense of community in a surprising sense. I don't think we were out there for no reason. It was good to know that there were so many others who shared my views and beliefs."