- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 30, 2001

Small numbers of counterprotesters argued loudly with peace demonstrators about the need for the United States to go to war and scuffled with some who set fire to an American flag near Freedom Plaza during yesterday's peace rally.
Anti-war demonstrators held up placards that read, "In peace sons bury their fathers, in war fathers bury their sons," and "Make peace, not war." Counterdemonstrators responded with signs such as "Peace through victory, not surrender" and "God bless our troops."
A counterprotest planned for the weekend at the Washington Monument was canceled, and yesterday a few hawkish demonstrators gathered along the route of the peace march to make their voices heard. Their ranks included a group of about 100 demonstrators at the Navy Memorial at Seventh Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
As the war protesters marched from the World Bank, in the 1800 block of H Street NW, to Freedom Plaza, where more protesters waited, yelling "No war, no war," counterprotesters yelled, "Strike back, strike back."
"We have to fight a war this time or there won't be a next time," said Lloyd Farmer of Arlington, who walked toward the peace rally with an American flag in hand. "It pains me very much because our whole family has been attacked. No one should mess with a member of our family."
At 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, next to Freedom Plaza, where the anti-war demonstrators had gathered in the hundreds, some counterprotesters held up large U.S. flags and what they described as flags of the American Revolution. One woman displayed an American flag embroidered with the words "Don't tread on me."
Jim Cox, 32, a District resident, said he was a Lebanese-American whose great-grandfather came to the United States in 1902 and "lived the American dream."
"I am an Arab-American myself," he told those opposing war as they argued with him. "This country's never been perfect. But our people are being murdered and killed, and we need to take action."
Mr. Cox is not a member of the military but said he would fight for his country if necessary.
Another counterprotester, who declined to give his name, said he was fighting the war "from the Hill" and not the battlefield. "I agree with everything our president says," he said.
The anti-war demonstrators, who came from around the country and even the world, argued that military action by the United States would result in the deaths of many innocent people in Afghanistan where Osama bin Laden, believed to be behind the terrorist attacks, is sheltered along with those of U.S. soldiers.
Before and after the march, which concluded at the Capitol, hundreds of peace advocates prayed in a circle and made speeches opposing war, including a fireman who did rescue work at the World Trade Center in New York after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Protesters sold books about the 1991 Persian Gulf war and buttons reading, "No to war, no to racism."
Jacqui Ryan, 42, a native of New Zealand, waved her country's flag as she listened to the speeches. "Policies made in the United States cause suffering all around the world. I don't believe going to war is an answer," she said.
Among those calling for peace were people who sent off family members to wars in the past. Jenny Lemlich, 78, of Southwest lost two brothers in World War II.
Yesterday, she said war was not the solution to the Sept. 11 attacks. "We need to get rid of all the anger that people out there feel for us, and war is not the way to do it," she said.
Often, during the rally, counterdemonstrators got into several loud arguments with the war protesters, and even minor scuffles. Police were out in full force and managed to break up the fights.
As a large number of protesters from the World Bank marched to join those at Freedom Plaza, two protesters held up an American flag and set it afire.
Both groups of demonstrators watched silently as it burned to ashes.
Frederick Peterson of Centreville, Va., was pulled aside for questioning by the police after he got into a fight with some demonstrators over the burning of the flag. Wearing a T-shirt with a picture of the American flag, alongside the words "These colors don't run," Mr. Peterson, who fought in the Vietnam war, later said it pained him to see the American flag treated in such a way.
"Every American should not be afraid to stand up for what our government is doing, especially after 7,000 Americans have died," he said, referring to the attacks in New York and on the Pentagon. "We have to look evil in the face and take appropriate action to fight it."

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