Friday-Sunday, September 23-25, 2005
Weekend Madman is a short one tonight. I decided to dedicate it to the March on Washington that grew crowds of between 300,000 and 500,000 (it felt more like a million to me). Check for a short video from the rally later this week. -NG
Me and a Half-Million of My Closest Friends
September 24, 2005 - Washington, DC
Me and my closest half a million friends decided to take a little trip to Washington, DC in an attempt to bring our sons and daughters and wives and husbands and friends and mild acquaintances back home. We met at the Ellipse, near the Washington Monument. There some of US stood up and told the rest of US their thoughts on the war on President "G"lobal "W"arming Bush and many, many other things. Most of the things my friends said I agreed with. Some I did not.
Because of personal issues, I didn't know if I was going to be able to make it down to meet my 500,000 or so friends, and I so wanted to. At about 5:00 PM, Friday night, September 23, I started driving from my home in New Jersey to a hotel Maryland. I drove alone.
The first thing that struck me at the (or is it "on the") Ellipse was how diverse the crowd was. There was the usual crowd you would expect at an anti-war rally including a large college student contingency. But then I really looked around. There were people of all ages from many different backgrounds. I said hello to a woman in a wheelchair from Minnesota and a group of transit workers from New York City. There were farmers from North Carolina and Hurricane Katrina victims from Alabama. There were people with dogs and young couples with baby strollers. Like some kind of "Field of Dreams", they were all drawn to the Ellipse. I approached one of those young couples on the Ellipse. The young mother, I'm guessing her age was somewhere in her mid-twenties was pushing her youngest child in a stroller while her husband of about the same age was carrying their older child in his left hand. I stopped them and asked the husband, "Why have you come here today." His answer was simple and quick. "I need to do something."
I thought about that answer for a minute before going onto the next person. It was the same answer I gave a right-winger who once asked me how much I get paid for writing Madman and Nationalview.org.
"I need to do something."
My guess is that the average age of the marchers was somewhere around 50 years old. I was amazed at how many veterans wearing their Battleship hats or old army jackets were there. Many people brought pictures of their loved ones who are serving on signs or pinned to their jackets.
There was a series of 8 x 10 pictures of all of the
soldiers killed in the war. They were asking for eighty... that's right,
eighty... volunteers just to carry the pictures. At one point, I saw a young
girl being held by another in the middle of the pictures. The curious side of me
wanted to go over and ask if she was okay... if that was her brother, or friend.
I realized it was none of my business. A little later, I observed another young
girl trying to hold back tears, running away from the crowd. Her attempts
We lined up to march, about 40 persons abreast. My claustrophobia and I were right smack in the middle of the crowd. Somehow, it didn't matter to me. Maybe it was because it was a comfortable day; maybe it was because I prepared myself for the crowd; but I really think it was because I was among friends, about 500,000 of my newest, closest friends. While marching, we started looking for the "Pro-War Protesters". I counted five of them during the march.
My half-million friends are a creative bunch. There were so many signs that said so many funny, sad and ironic things, sometimes at the same time. My favorite was by my friend Bruno: "George Bush - A Category Five Disaster."
But it wasn't until I started my trip home that this day really came to life for me. I walked my way to the nearest Metro station to make my way back to Silver Spring, MD where my car was parked. I took the red Line to the end. On the train, a few of US started talking. There was another couple from New Jersey and a young girl who worked for a liberal DC charity. On the way out of the train, I met two very nice young men. I guessed that they were about 20 years old. They stood out due to their unusual attire. Both were over six-feet tall and wore black jump suits with sneakers. During the course of conversation, one of them told me that that they were patients at Walter Reed (Army Hospital). He said that he knew his life was "never going to be the same." He said it with a quiver in his voice. His friend nodded in agreement. The two boys were walking funny, but I assumed it was because they were injured somehow in the war. In retrospect, I think the suits might have been designed to cover up burns of some sort. It was just curious speculation on my part. I didn't ask.
I decided to ask the first young man the same question I asked many of my half-million friends on the Ellipse. "What made you come here today?" His answer, I realized, was the real reason we were all there:
"I don't want to see anymore of my friends
With that, the young man dressed in black limped gingerly out of the train. I thanked him, shook his hand and we walked off in different directions.
I walked the five blocks to my car and began my drive home.
What did you do on September 24, 2005?
How the big there cable news sites saw the anti-war rally, one day later
Defenders of Iraq war counter-rally
Smaller-than-expected gathering follows anti-war protest
-CNN.com's second story after Hurricane Rita, Sunday, September 25, 2005, by the AP
There was no story on CNN.com's front page about the rally from the protesters' point of view, however.
The first quote in paragraph two was from a pro war supporter:
"No matter what your ideals are, our sons and daughters are fighting for our freedom. We are making a mockery out of this. And we need to stand united, but we are not."
-Marilyn Faatz, one of 400 that came to protest the protesters
"The group who spoke here the other day did not represent the American ideals of freedom, liberty and spreading that around the world. I frankly don't know what they represent, other than to blame America first."
- Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
So the 400 represent America but the 500,000 that attended the protest didn't Senator Sessions? Think of it like this: 500,000 people are almost as many people that live in the Red States of Alaska or North Dakota or South Dakota and it is just as many that live in Wyoming - The Land of Cheney.
There were so many of US that we
should have our own
congressman and two senators.
Small Counter Rally Shows Support for Troops
-Foxnews.com story buried three-quarters down the page
The same AP story that CNN.com reported
Rally to support Iraq war draws hundreds
Organizers had hoped for far larger response to Saturday’s D.C. protest
The semi-buried link read:
"Hundreds rally to support Iraq war | Anti-war protests"
"Anti-war protests" led you to another AP article:
Anti-war demonstrators stage day of protest
Tens of thousands rally in marathon day of song, remembrance
The article reported this pro-war sign:
"Arrest the traitors"
Funny... We had the same sign!
Half a million people. They can't ignore US forever.
"I tried to see my way clear to attend the (book) festival in order to bear witness--as an American who loves her country and its principles and its writing--against this undeclared and devastating war.
"But I could not face the idea of breaking bread with you. I knew that if I sat down to eat with you, it would feel to me as if I were condoning what I see to be the wild, highhanded actions of the Bush Administration.
"What kept coming to the fore of my mind was that I would be taking food from the hand of the First Lady who represents the Administration that unleashed this war and that wills its continuation, even to the extent of permitting "extraordinary rendition": flying people to other countries where they will be tortured for us.
"So many Americans who had felt pride in our country now feel anguish and shame, for the current regime of blood, wounds and fire. I thought of the clean linens at your table, the shining knives and the flames of the candles, and I could not stomach it."
-Sharon Olds, Poet
"Poet Sharon Olds has declined to attend the National Book Festival in Washington, which, coincidentally or not, takes place September 24, the day of an antiwar mobilization in the capital. Olds, winner of a National Book Critics Circle Award and professor of creative writing at New York University, was invited along with a number of other writers by First Lady Laura Bush to read from their works. Three years ago artist Jules Feiffer declined to attend the festival's White House breakfast as a protest against the Iraq War ("Mr. Feiffer Regrets," November 11, 2002). We suggest that invitees to this year's event consider following their example."
-The Editors of The Nation
-Forwarded by Jenny Hanniver
One wonders if the "trusted presidential advisers" of "G"lobal "W"arming Bush even told the "President without a clue" that there was an anti-war rally and march this past weekend. These "trusted presidential advisers" have become nothing more than the filter of information to the president. I can't imagine that anything these guys (yes, I know there are women too) in the Bush administration do isn't for a purpose. Whether it be a book fair or a single surgery that turns into a double surgery for Vice President Dick "Go <F---> Yourself" Cheney, one still wonders.. These guys would set fire to the Smithsonian, if they had to.
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