"We're just reminding people in a fairly complacent community that there's still a war going on and we're advocating to bring the troops home," said Medford, who started the weekly protest. "Most people are too busy shopping to know what's happening. They don't understand how awful it is in Iraq and that we caused it."
But the Friday night meetings have sparked ire among local war veterans, who say the group should take their protest to another spot.
War protesters sharing a corner with the memorial, which is believed to be the first Vietnam War memorial in the country, doesn't sit well with Vietnam War veteran Warren Spayth, a former Marine and senior vice-commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1614 in La Crescenta.
"As far as I'm concerned, it's like spitting on the veterans' graves," Spayth said. "None of us want to see anybody come back in coffins. I don't care what war you're talking about, but they can make their statement across the street…. that memorial is not the local pulpit."
The war memorial — which lists the names of 13 soldiers from the La Cañada-Crescenta Valley who died in Vietnam, etched on bronze plaques that are inlaid in white stone and surrounded by flowers — is an important supplement to the protesters' message though, Medford said.
"I think the symbolism is apt," she said. "This [memorial] is a symbol of another mistaken war."
Protesting by the memorial is not intended to undermine the soldiers honored on those plaques, said Cynthia North, who carried a sign that read, "Who would Jesus bomb?"
"We're talking about soldiers dying in a war in a place that honors fallen soldiers," North said. "I'm not anti-military, I'm anti this war."
But some veterans don't think it's possible to honor the fallen soldiers named on the Montrose Vietnam War Memorial while carrying picket signs.
"Personally, I'd rather them not be there," said Mike Baldwin, a former Army specialist and Vietnam veteran. "I have some friends there on that wall that I don't think would appreciate it."
Dale Dawson, president of the Montrose Shopping Park Assn., hasn't perceived an effect of the protest on business in the park. But he too thinks the protesters could find a better spot.
"That memorial was put in place in 1968 as a way to look past the politics of the war in order to support the troops," Dawson said. "Now, they're using it to espouse their political views, but the memorial's anything but political."
Not so, says Bruce Gunnell, the son of a Vietnam War veteran and Montrose peace protester.
"Freedom of speech," Gunnell said. "You fight and die for freedom of speech. They fought for my freedom to come and stand on this corner."