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Monday, January 20, 2003

Veterans March Against War

Stephen Boyce of the Ann Arbor Area Committee for Peace sent this fine report on veterans who marched in Washington on Saturday:
The Veterans Contingent in Washington, DC was outstanding. I would say that well over 300 veterans and family members marched together with banners that said "Veterans Against Iraq War", "Chickenhawk$ Want War - We Don't", "Veterans For Peace", "Vietnam Veterans Against the War", and numerous VFP chapter banners. Members of Military Families Speak Out joined us carrying pictures of their sons and daughters in harms' way right now.

We also had big posters of Bush, Cheney, Liebermann, Lott, Wolfowitz identifying them as Chicken-Hawks and various signs expressing veterans opposition to war (including 50 "VFP (logo)-No Iraq War" signs courtesy of NYC Veterans Peace Coalition)

When we marched we did the cadence sent out previously and made some new ones up along the way. For a while after "Am I Right or Wrong" we changed "You're Right" to "Right On". One chant we did I really liked was "Hey Bush, Get Out The Way -This Is What Democracy Looks Like". We even got some "Fired Up...." and "The People United...." in there.

After we marched for about 10 blocks (out of 15), we pulled off in a park and lined the sidewalk displaying all our banners and did cadence as the rest of the crowd marched past for over an hour. We had the crowd rockin', old folks, students, labor contingents, church groups, all joined us in sounding off in cadence against the war.

This was a good move because a large number of veterans came over when they saw us and expressed the desire to get involved in the resurgent veterans antiwar movement. Thousands video taped and took pictures of us and numerous young people came over to shake our hands and thank us for being there.

This time there were a significant number of women vets marching with us and several others including a VN nurse (68-69) with her old boonie hat, medals and VVAW button joined us. Also a decent number of Black and Latino vets marched and others from the DC community came by to check us out.

The bad news was that due to the numbers and poor logistics the Vets did not take their place in the leading contingents of the march as planned nor did they get to speak. Nevertheless, I am proud to see that my brothers and sisters were there and will "continue to march" in the demonstrations ahead.