- The Washington Times - Monday, January 20, 2003

WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 (UPI) — (Editor's note: UPI asked anti-war activist Lorie Kellogg of Napanoch, N.Y., to keep a diary of last weekend's rally in Washington.)

4:15 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 18 — Napanoch, N.Y. — Woke up, ate cereal, got dressed, packed bags, made 20 PBJ sandwiches for other bus riders, wrapped in wax paper to be environmental, husband (Joe) made me green tea for the road. Joe also lent me his tape recorder and microphone to record people if anything interesting happens. He's a freelance radio producer. He couldn't go because of his back surgery recovery.

5 a.m. — Left home, to drive my Honda Insight to Warwick by 6 a.m. Bus company: Westpoint Buses (Ironic).

5:45 a.m. — Found the two buses lined up in Warwick town hall parking lot, gave Katie Glover (the organizer) my check for $35, and loaded in. Exhaust from bus #1 was coming in and everyone was complaining about it. One lady suggested the driver back the bus up; she did and that made the air quality better. My eyes are burning from the exhaust. Good thing I brought eye drops.

6:12 a.m. — Katie said there are people coming from the Woodstock area and we will hold the bus for them.

6:17 a.m. — Nancy brought some videotapes for the ride because there is a VCR and monitors on board the bus.

6:22 a.m. — Katie said we are leaving. Buses started to move. Danishes have been donated and I announced that I brought PBJs for $1 each if anyone wants one. The first buses have turned around to get out of the parking lot. They had to stop and have people move their cars alongside the parking lot.

6:31 a.m. — The sun is just starting to come up. We are waiting for people to move their cars.

6:39 a.m. — All the cars have been moved so the buses can get out. I can see the beautiful full moon in the sky.

6:41 a.m. — Buses leave the lot. I turned my light on and can't turn it off -broken button. I'm remembering that yesterday, at work, a guy in the office wanted to debate the idea of war and I walked out before anything could happen. I should have let him know that I care enough to go to the protest and if he cared he should go demonstrate on the other side. Now that the bus is moving, the windows have all steamed up and frozen. It is only a little chatty on the bus. One lady is a classic — first she complained about the exhaust, with which I did concur. Now she is complaining about the road/highway the buses are taking. "It looks like a straight shot on the map bit it is a very slow road." Warwick looks like a nice community, cutie shops, very affluent looking. People must commute into Manhattan from here. The commute might be just one hour in a car (but not during rush hour!). With the windows frozen, I see a blurry world as the sun continues to rise.

7:50 a.m. — Just awoke from a decent nap. We're on Route 1 through New Jersey. I can see the taller buildings in New York City. Going through the wetlands called the "Meadowlands," past Giants Stadium. This would be totally built up if you could build on a wetland, but some of it has been protected. We're at the Newark exit. I see the two large smokestacks of a power plant, backlit by the sunrise. One woman across from me has the worst case of "bed hair." I drew a picture of it in my diary. She's reading a newspaper. Another gal is scratching a peace sign in the frost of the east side windows and the words: "No War."

7:58 a.m. — Katie is taking roll, visually. Route 1 through NJ is so horrible, so much industry. Passing Newark Airport now. Thank goodness for organizers who put actions like this together. We're in Elizabeth, N.J. There are 50 people per bus. I would guess the average age on this bus to be 45 years old. I am 37 and maybe one of the youngest. There was a family with a 120year-old son and two high school students. The man across the aisle is in his late 60s to mid 70s.

8:08 a.m. — Passing an oil refinery. Billowing white and gray pollution coming from its smokestacks. This is what we've done to our world! Hardly any snow on the ground here in Central Jersey. We still have over a foot of snow up in Napanoch.

8:31 a.m. — First rest stop. Bus #1 needs transmission fluid.

8:51 a.m. — Waiting for a person to come back from getting food. What were they buying? Everyone is eating eggs and cheese breakfast sandwiches and other unhealthy stuff. Nobody wants my PBJ's? People talking about the resolution they are getting people to sign. One lady went to the other bus to get copies of it and collect money to publish it as an ad. I'm giving $5 to go toward the cause. It will be introduced into the Orange County legislature (in two weeks) and the ad will be in the Times-Herald Record. "No War in Our Name."

9:28 a.m. — Just interviewed everyone on the bus (on tape) but two. Asked their name, age, town they are from and if they have ever been to a protest before. Almost a third had not and almost a quarter had been to a Vietnam protest in the late 60s, early 70s. One Viet Nam vet (Everett) was on the bus.

10:23 a.m. — I got release signatures and contact info. from 90 percent of the people I recorded. Everyone is very adamant about going to D.C. You rarely see this many people eager and taking action for something they believe in. Most of the people on the bus who were too young for the Vietnam protests never went to a protest before today. The people who were of age to protest in the early '70s haven't protested since then. Sharon said people had called her un-American for being anti-war. She said, "I am an American and that's why I care" about Americans losing their lives and Iraqis losing their lives too. About four people declined permission to have their voice on the radio. All I got from them was name, town and if they'd ever gone to a protest before.

10:29 a.m. — I think we just passed the beltway around D.C. The Chesapeake rest stop is ahead. Earlier, Salvatore sang the parody song: "If the economy's in the crapper, Bomb Iraq." Then he sang a very funny song based on "You Gotta Have Heart" called "You Gotta Have Skin," all about everyone needs their skin and in the end he hoped everyone, a year from now, still has their skin. Then Anthony read a poem about the founding of this country and how we killed the Indians and raped their women. Decent poem. Full of emotion. I like the frost on the windows, the west windows. The sun is hitting the east windows and they are clear but the west side looks opaque.

10:35 a.m. — At Perryville Outlets Toll and Weight Station. Talked about the weather and thank goodness less snow fell on Friday. They said there might be 4 inches. Scare tactics to keep protestors away? I called Joe. Joe has been waiting since 8 a.m. for his NPR editor to call him to listen to a story he is working on. The meeting keeps getting delayed. He's watching the news media on TV and listening to NPR. C-SPAN is covering it live, as you would expect. None of the other media is paying attention to it. One cable channel has mentioned it very briefly at the top of the hour news updates but then quickly went into a long story about the 12 warheads and does this mean Iraq is hiding more and about Saudi Arabia trying to get Saddam to leave Iraq. All war drumming. Another is doing all fluff magazine/celebrity shows, no mention of the protests at all. One cable news channel — all pro-war, Republicans saying Iraq has weapons and have gassed their own people. One guy said, "The only way to stop a bully is to fight him. You must stand up to the bully or he will keep on bullying." He said the peace movement is misinformed. Another cable news channel — all celebrity profiles, no mention of the protests. A network morning show — no mention of the protests but spent most of the morning showing the Diana Ross police video over and over with a team of "analysts" talking about it and complaining that she doesn't fall down in it like we thought she would and the Robert Blake deposition video. Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah. Joe said, "Edward R. Murrow is rolling in his grave." Another network morning show, same thing. Diana Ross, Robert Blake, a long discussion with an actor from the movie Denzel Washington directed, no mention of the protests. Public radio, all soft news, artsy stuff, only mentioning protests very briefly at the top the hour. No one is interviewing any protesters to see what their view is. Very sad. The news media is not doing its job anymore. The days of real reporting (like during Vietnam) is over. It is as if they are afraid of our government and/or don't think people care about any of it. They don't want to shake things up or cause trouble or lose ratings or audience. The promise of the '60s never happened. We're 24 miles from Baltimore, so guess we are not as close to D.C. as I thought.

11:37 a.m. — They have broken us up into groups of six, making sure each group has a leader with a cell phone. I passed out signs I made that read: "WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER" and safety pins so people can attach them to their clothes. Eight or 10 people took them and put them all over themselves.

11:41 a.m. — Salvatore mentioned that during a march many years ago, a bus was broken into and some purses were taken. Someone made a joke about "Peaceniks get robbed." As we entered the mall area of D.C. a volunteer coordinator jumped on the bus and told us where the buses should park after dropping us off and where and when we would be picked up with a map. She said we have speakers to listen to and that they needed more volunteers to help inform the buses what to do. "The march is about a mile long … and starts around 1:30 p.m. - 2 p.m." From the windows of the bus we could see all kinds of entertaining signs — "BOMB TEXAS THEY HAVE OIL TOO." Our organizer let us know that our buses would pick us up near the end of the march at M street and 5th at 5 to 6 p.m., 5:30 p.m. would be best. We all thanked her for the information.

We climbed off the bus right in the middle of all the action, about 100 feet from the stage. A sea of people spread out in front of me, lots of slogans lots of signs. The temperature was in the 20s but it was sunny and that helped keep us warm. I hung out close with the other five women who I was grouped with. Most of us were strangers to each other but we made sure that we were together. One of the people wanted to get a group picture but it was very hard to do, we were standing in the street and not everybody heard to get together. The plan was for all the folks from Warwick to follow the banner they brought, and we did. Some of the signs round us read: "NO WAR FOR OIL," "AXIS OF EVIL, BUSH, RUMSFIELD, ASHCROFT & CHENEY." We scooted up as close as we could to listen to the speakers. Some people were up in the trees videotaping the action. About every 10h person has a sign — "US SANCTIONS PREVENT SCHOOL SUPPLIES FORM GETTING TO IRACQ," "OIL DRIVES THE WAR", "PEACE ROCKS", "STOP OPERATION ENDURING OIL," "BOOM AND BUSH," "A FAMILY TRADITION, WAR, RECESSION, DEFICIT." People are trying to make their way through the sea of people as we listen to the speakers.

Jessica Lange was the first person I recognized. She mentioned some of the people spent 24 hours on the bus to get here from Minnesota. All cheered that! She thanked everyone for coming and that we need to "stand up and say, NO, you are not speaking for US"; said she was not there as an actress or a celebrity but as a "mother and parent that is determined that the legacy passes on to the next generation is not one of shame and greed and bloodshed." Another speaker gave a very strong and truthful speech about New York being full of heroes, and he said 1.5 million New Yorkers had to go to food pantries to get food for their families and we want the $200 billion that will be spent on defense to feed people. The next speaker got us to chant "HEAT UP WASHINGTON, STOP THE WAR!"

Jesse Jackson was one of the next speakers, he was very poignant and easy to understand, he spoke of 1: Dr. Martin Luther King and what he did Jan. 15, 1968, his last birthday, building a multi-racial, multi-religious coalition, commitment to mass action, for a war on poverty; 2: make civil rights a priority; 3: end the war in Vietnam. He said our goal today was to protect affirmative action and let's NOT ATTACK IRAQ, let's choose minds over missiles, negotiation over confrontation. Brains over bombs. Stop terrorism and not spread it. "Young America thank you for being here, thank you for fighting back today, your are not our future, you are our right now! Fight back, fight back!" The crowd went wild. He challenged campuses to get organized and start marching campus by campus — "Let's choose negotiation over confrontation, negotiation over confrontation!" Choose life over death, choose hope and healing, over hurt and hostage … I close on this note today, we march today and we vote … we beat our swords into plow shares … don't let them break your spirit, don't let them discredit you, don't let them dissuade you, here we stand, red, yellow, brown, black and white, we are all princes in Gods sight, this is America at its best, can I get a witness?" Much more cheering! We fight back because our lives are at stake. The crowd was thick, signs were everywhere. "It's hope time, it's peace time, it's healing time, KEEP HOPE ALIVE!" Two other speakers spoke.

THE MARCH BEGINS —

Roughly 1:30 p.m. — A woman got on the stage an announced that we were getting ready to march and that they went through the permit process but it was no shock that they wouldn't get them a permit to set up a stage and PA system at the end of the march, so we were going to make our voices heard even though they wouldn't let us have amplification. We will see you at the Navy Yard and when you get there make sure you voices can be heard because they cannot silence US.

We started to move and the march has begun, going south of the Capitol between many government buildings, sticking behind our pink banner. Many people were moving past the botanical gardens up toward Independence Ave. We should have stayed on Third Street but we cut across the grass for the first part. People were chanting and showing there signs the whole way.

1:56 p.m. — We are still moving up Independence Avenue getting close to Pennsylvania Avenue. There we will turn south and continue down Eighth Street past the military barracks. As we pass the military barracks there is a policeman every 20 feet or so. I have no idea what they are thinking; do they really think we are going to mess with the Marines and their fences and brick walls? People are chanting "PEACE, NOW." We are still not moving very fast; there are so many people that we are packed together moving up the street.

2:37 p.m. — We are moving down Eighth Street. I noticed a pick-up truck with a PA on the back being used to chant slogans. I assume that they will be using that at the end of the march to give more speeches because the city and police would not give the organizers a permit for a public address system to amplify there voices.

Before we get to Virginia Avenue there is a very small group of pro-war supporters and police holding them along the sidewalk. I see no real conflict. We are moving toward a goal and no one wants to start something with these poor misguided patriots.

As we pass under the Virginia Avenue overpass everyone screams and yells because the acoustics are good.

Halfway down M Street we pass some projects where a group of African-American kids are chanting along the sidewalk something about how the city has turned its back on the neighborhood. Good for them!

Off to the right you can see the dome of the Capitol building, over 10 long city blocks way.

Around 3:30 p.m. — We come up to the end of the march at First Street and M Street. The pick-up truck is there with speakers on the back using the amplifiers. Many speakers rally the crowd. We hear something about a million people have come here to march, but everything people hear on the news says the contrary. There is over a mile of people tightly packed together. One speaker says: "What do we want, PEACE, NOW!" Any Bomb that IRAQ has were given to him in the '80s". "The right of self-determination"… "the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade."

Feminist Fran Lock of WBAI mentioned that "Bush will make Sunday Sanctity of Life Day but he cares nothing for the lives of 200,000 women who die annually around the globe because they cannot get safe legal abortions; they cannot get pregnancy or child care. He has withheld $120 million from these programs. And family planning does not exist in many countries because of George Bush." There was one pro-lifer speaking up in the crowd but the majority of the people there cared for what she was speaking of.

The next speaker was New York City councilman Charles Barris. "We will not send our children to be cannon fodder for oil." "Go fight yourself, we are not fighting for you any more." "We will not spill our blood for oil." MARCH ON, MARCH ON!

Next: Youth Block, N.Y. and U.S. high school students, Mike and Catalina read a poem, "take back the future… in the winter I found the heat that surrounds." [email protected]

Voices in the Wilderness Doctor: in defiance of the State Department and the U.S. government this group has been taking medicine to the Iraqi people, "you can threaten us with fines and jail but we are not following you, we are following our conscience." The doctor said the "people of Iraq gave us their greetings and gratitude because they are depending upon you. These people who can only be called terrorized, who can only be called victims of our terrorism. From the kindness of their hearts, and their hospitality and their love send your there greetings. And let me ask, if we, the U.N. finds chemical weapons in Iraq does that give us the right to, by sanctions or by war, to kill there Iraqi children?" We answered "NO!" "If we find, even nuclear weapons in Iraq, does that give us the right to, by sanctions or by war, to kill their Iraqi children?" We answered "NO!" "And if we find of all things OIL in Iraq, does that give us the right to kill their Iraqi children?" We answered "NO!" "Please remember if we stop this war, we also have to stop those sanctions, because that is what for over 12 years has been a weapon of mass destruction killing the people of Iraq and especially there children. We thank you."

The next speakers were the parents of soldiers: "Our son is in the Marines over in the Persian Gulf being prepared for war." We are against the war. "George Bush doesn't know what democracy looks like, THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!"

The main chant then became "NO BLOOD FOR OIL!"

They encouraged all to go to the Web site votenowar.org and vote no themselves.

A few other speakers spoke before they wrapped it up. People started finding their way home while the back of the parade of people were still trickling into the First Street and M street intersection.

IT WAS A GREAT PROTEST, MARCH and RALLY! They said there were a million people here today. We'll see what the news media reports tomorrow.

We called all of the people that were not accounted for on their phones to have us meet up at the pick up spot. We then walked back to the bur pickup spot.

The police really swept in fast after 4 p.m.. First, a motorcycle cop and cruiser came through, while people were still finishing the march, with a police car zigzagging through the crowd. Then about 10 minutes later, a whole row of motorcycle cops came down the street, followed by about 20 police cruisers. I don't think there was anything to clean up back at First Street and M. At that time, our group was at Fifth Street.

5 p.m. — We hung around in the cold waiting for an hour for our bus to pick us up, and it was 10 minutes late at 6:10 p.m. As we waited, thank goodness two people had drums as we tried to keep warm by moving to the music of the drums. Some huddled against the big doors of the local grade school.

6 p.m. — We are all on the bus. Some gals were almost late to the bus pickup spot because they wanted to get some dinner at the end of the protest. The problem was, we were in the most underdeveloped part of D.C., the military shipyard area, with no restaurants or houses, just old businesses and some housing projects. One gentleman said that this area was hit hard during the race riots in the '60s and never recovered. I can tell. A lot of empty lots. So these gals had to walk almost a mile back over to Pennsylvania Avenue to find a restaurant. Strangely, no one ate my PBJ sandwiches. I'm going home with the whole bag of them.

On the way back up the East Coast to upstate New York where I live we pass rest stops, and I saw 20 or 30 buses and I knew they were all full with almost 50 people in them heading back home from the protests. More people were at that protest than they claim on the news. Over 500,000 were there, maybe a million. I saw a lot of people and it was not just 20,000 like the media said. And that is not being reported on the mainstream news. Our news is not fully reporting what is going on at these types of events. Big business must want this war as much as George Bush and his oil buddies.

I got home at 1 a.m. The bus got us to Warwick around midnight and then I had to drive my hour further up to my home in the Catskills. I feel proud and fulfilled. It was worth it, every step on the march and every butt-numbing minute on that 10-hour bus ride. THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE even though the news isn't showing it.





Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide