The Conscientious Objectors Hill of Remembrance

The Conscientious Objectors Hill of Remembrance will remain at its present location in perpetuity.

The Conscientious Objectors Hill of Remembrance

The Conscientious Objectors Hill of Remembrance

The cremation remains of pacifists share a common hill at The Conscientious Objectors Hill of Remembrance.

The Life Experience School was founded on the principles of nonviolence and its establishment was the alternative service of the Founder, Lewis Randa, following his discharge from the military as a conscientious objector in 1971. C.O. Hill is where the founding mother of The Life Experience School, Neita DeMotte and late student Norman Nylund are buried. They were shining lights for The Life Experience School and the Peace Abbey during their lives and continue to inspire us to this day.

On the grounds of The Peace Abbey there is a special retreat space called the Remembrance Cabin. It is here that many Conscientious Objectors have stayed to read, pray and reflect when visiting The Peace Abbey. It rests on CO Hill where the cremated remains of those who leave behind a life of opposition to war, are buried.

With the placement of the Memorial Stone honoring those who refused to take up arms, The Peace Abbey is extending this sacred space to others who consider themselves, or who are considered by their families, to be conscientious objectors.

Although the term conscientious objector has traditionally been related to men and women who refused to serve in the military, we have expanded this designation to include those who have renounced the violence of war and embraced the path of activist peacemaking. The stone includes the names of these conscientious objectors and stands as living monument to the lives of these individuals who worked to create a more peaceful world.

Memorial Stone for Conscientious Objectors

Memorial Stone for Conscientious Objectors

The granite Memorial Stone for Conscientious Objectors has now been placed on CO Hill on the grounds of the Peace Abbey. At the top of the stone reads the words:


The names engraved on the Memorial Stone include Pat Farren, David Dellinger, Wally Nelson & Chuck Matthei, Lynda Bock Weitz, Paramal Das, Ralph DiGia, Ann & John Rush, Patricia Watson, Zell Draz, Norman Nylund, Tom Lewis, Sheila DeSalvo and Howard Willard, Jr. (There is space on the stone for the names of over one hundred deceased pacifists.)

This cremation cemetery is dedicated to individuals who either a) received the designation of conscientious objector from a draft board or at a military hearing, b) applied for the designation and were rejected, or c) embraced the tradition of conscientious objection as a personal commitment of their opposition to war. Application for burial or internment of cremated remains on C.O. Hill

A Message regarding C.O. Hill

by Robert Dove, American Friends Service Committee

From the eight foot square “Remembrance Cabin” atop the hill overlooking the Peace Abbey’s Pacifist Memorial, there are two new sights: a statue of Emily the Cow, the Peace Abbey’s friend and personal symbol for the rights and due dignity of all living creatures; and a large headstone marking the lives and cremated remains of conscientious objectors to war who have dedicated themselves to justice and peace in pursuit of the tradition of non-violence.

By day, I see the yellow leaves making their annual descent to the sacred floor of the earth, to become one with the soil to nurture future trees. By night, a gentle rain washes clean the monuments and memorials marking this special bit of consciousness. It is tranquility right by the side of a busy road.

I share a spot with those whose ashes are here: among them Norman, a boy from the Peace Abbey’s own school for children with special needs who was the inspiration for the Abbey itself; and Pat Farren, longtime editor of AFSC’s Peacework Magazine and my dear colleague and friend. Through them, I share in, to use Pat’s own words, “the vast, cosmic community of liberation.” It is an indescribable honor as well as an energetic boost to be here. Come, see this place. Stay in the cabin. Consider whether your ashes or someone you know well belong here on this hill.

For more information: The Life Experience School, 16 Lavender Street, Millis, MA 02054.


By Edna St. Vincent Millay

I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death.
I hear him leading his horse out of the stall;
I hear the clatter on the barn floor.
He is in haste;
he has business in Cuba, business in the Balkans, many calls to make this morning.
But I will not hold the bridle while he clinches the girth.

And he may mount by himself:
I will not give him a leg up.
Though he flick my shoulders with his whip,
I will not tell him which way the fox ran.
With his hoof on my breast,
I will not tell him where the black boy hides in the swamp.

I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death;
I am not on his pay-roll.
I will not tell him the whereabout of my friends nor of my enemies either.
Though he promise me much,
I will not map him the route to any man’s door.

Am I a spy in the land of the living, that I should deliver men to Death?
Brother, the password and the plans of our city are safe with me;
never through me shall you be overcome.

I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death.