Getting up at 4:30 am to catch the bus was not a highlight...but after two cups of coffee, dressing and packing water, lunch and nibbles into a backpack we are almost ready. First...let the dogs out and "hope" they'll be able to maintain until my brother comes at 1:30 ( AND then until we return after 10pm...)
We catch up with folks we haven't seen in awhile as our two bus convoy heads to DC. We get off at Pentagon City and we fill up the subway station waiting for our train. The organizers remind us we want the yellow line. Jean and I jump on the blue line instead (b/c we're tired of waiting for the yellow line AND we know the blue line ends up at the same place) The car is empty except for three women from New York...who are also in town for the March. We share "activities" etc and one woman who has a strong interest in the Palestinian situation exchanges info with us b/c we know some folks she'll want to connect with.
We end up at the mall at 10:45 and we head for the Native American Museum to hook up with Valley from the Crawford Peace House. We enjoy lunch together by the water falls and then head out to connect with the Veterans for Peace bus folks and listen to the rally. We discussed what was working and not working in our communities. I obtained some wonderfully creative media reform information that I will be useful in Hampton Roads. I am definitely inspired by what the Dallas folks are doing.
I enjoy meeting the vets for peace folks...they are usually friendly, salt of the earth types.
The speeches you will be able to catch or read transcripts (I enjoyed Sean Penn for brevity...and though my fave is Susan Sarandon I enjoyed Tim Robbins speech more than Susan's. (Unlike Rick Howell's opinion that Susan was better than Tim.)
We decide to march for a little while and then head to "mingle" and watch the march. The folks attending the march were very laid back...it was a pretty day and basically a relaxed march. (There was a "small" group of young anarchists who decided to challenge the park police at the capital building. I don't believe any arrests took place there. I did hear the young anarchists also challenged the police at the end of the march and refused to leave the street when asked to do so when the march ended. I have no idea if anyone went all the way to getting arrested or not.) My observations were that the police were laid back during most of the march...and maybe there more active members were "busy" with this small group of folks. I have never observed so much just "mingling" and waffling" around before. I can see how some pictures may give folks the impression that the march was smaller than it was.
I would "love" to say this march was incredibly huge....(actually since the organizers originally "planned" on 10k...it really was huge) but there were definitely at "least" 100k there and I believe it was probably 150K....200K is "possible....anything "estimated" below 100k is definitely in error. I base this on "lots of attendence at marches" and the fact that one grid of the mall was very packed and a second grid was filled with a decent amount of folks along the sides of the mall and across the street in the grassy area on the Capital side of things.
So that's my march experience...lunch was great and if I owned a laptop I could have sent a post from the march but c'est la vie....we grabbed desert before heading back to the buses....and slept on the bus ride home...greeted and played with our dogs before "hitting the sack."
It was a pleasant day spent with interesting pleasant, progressive folks throughout the journey.
We have friends who will be "lobbying" on Monday and we plan to email and call all of our elected officials in DC to let them know we marched and we want to "lobby" them the best we can on this issue.