"Read the Web site! Read all about it!"
If you've walked across the Lory Student Center Plaza any time in the past few years, you've probably heard this shout echoing from a white-haired man wearing a fisherman's hat.
Dan Lyons, informally known as Old Yeller, has been something of a Plaza fixture since he started his weekly shouting sessions shortly before the Afghan war. But after the 2004 elections, Lyons decided to vacate the Plaza, at least until the 2006 elections. This will mark his first break from on-campus protests in nearly three years.
"At first, everybody just ignored me," Lyons said. "But eventually I started handing out two to three hundred fliers every week."
The fliers contain a blurb about recent events in politics and the world, followed by Lyons' Web site address, danlyons.blogspot.com. But Lyons isn't just any guy with an opinion and a Web site – he has taught philosophy at CSU for 34 years, and was a teacher at Catholic colleges before that. As to his political credentials, Lyons claims to read about ten newspapers a day and has been an active protester of every war since the Korean War, which he served in.
Lyons' voice came to be somewhat of a distinguishing mark of the Plaza. Neil DiMuccio, a sophomore economics student, commented on Lyons' distinctive cry.
"His unavoidable 'Read all about it!' always made me think of news sellers of the past. When Dan is gone, I fear I may never hear that old phrase being belted out in public again. His negative stories often prompted me to act, and definitely helped me fight my urge to be lulled into American apathy. I'll be sad to see him go," he said.
Lyons' goal when speaking on the Plaza was never to single-handedly put an end to any war. Lyons said he protests "in order to say neither war (the Iraq or Afghan wars) is in my name. I feel less helpless if I yell."
And so, about once a week for almost three years, Lyons has sat and yelled. His messages have been controversial and have not always earned him enthusiasm.
Richard Maxwell, a senior management major, met Lyons in the fall of 2002.
"To be fair, (I think Lyons is) a successful, well-informed and sharp person who simply had gotten ahead of himself on a few arguments," Maxwell said.
With regards to Dan Lyons' affect on the free speech in the Plaza, Maxwell was less pleased.
"I think he has made it much more one-sided, embodying the vocal anti-war element and overshadowing the much less rowdy young Republicans and moderates."
But Lyons says that anti-war is what he's all about.
"I had a friend in the Korean war who told me, 'Don't say war is hell. Young men will think that sounds glamorous. Tell them that war is s-t.'"
Lyons Web site is not without a dark sense of humor about the crises he sees. He tries to keep some perspective on the absurdity of it all, but to not forget how tragic life can be. It's a reflection of his motto – "Laugh during the day and weep at night."
Lyons plans to keep busy in his free time.
"I've got to find another project. It might be philosophical research," he said.
Whatever project Lyons settles on, he has promised to keep his Web site, www.danlyons.blogspot.com, up to date.
If you're interested in Dan Lyon's coverage of current events you can read all about it at danlyons.blogspot.com.