Monday, March 26, 2018

March for our Lives

Saturday was a perfect day for a protest in Washington:  sunny and cool. The whole day was great and I'm really glad I attended this march. I bought a ticket on one of the Rally buses going up from Charlottesville for the event and we departed at 7:00 am. An elderly man was there, just to stand by and see us off, which was such a sweet gesture. I went alone because I like doing things alone and also because it is easier in situations like this to have only yourself to keep track of, although on the bus, as another single lady sat next to me, I had the uncomfortable realization that I am a middle aged woman who goes to protests alone. I'd packed a piece of stiff fabric and some sharpie markers, and attempted to make a sign but before I finished I felt so car sick I had to abandon the effort and breathe deeply and stare fixedly ahead and hope that the stiff fabric might double as a barf container, should such a thing be needed. It wasn't needed, but I didn't feel better until we were nearly there. My slogan was to be: IT'S EASIER TO BUY A GUN THAN TO OPEN A POUCH OF LAUNDRY PODS which it totally true, by the way.

We arrived at Union Station well before the official march start time, so I was able to get a fairly good position. Not very close to the stage, but within good view of the large viewing screens and speakers. They played music until the rally officially started and it was fun to watch the crowd swell and see all the signs. We were on Pennsylvania Avenue, and I was positioned just forward of the Newseum, where my sister used to live.

Here are a few of the signs I liked.

By the rally start time, the crowd was so tight, I was wedged in without even enough room to move my arms or plant my feet more than a few inches apart. I was right in the middle of the street and to move sideways to the edges of the crowd was literally impossible. I'm not particularly claustrophobic, but I did have to take a few deep breaths at times and remember that this was all for an important cause. And the speeches and entertainment were superb. I got to see Lin Manuel live! I was also blown away by Demi Lovato's performance and the student speakers - many from Parkland, but others from around the country who'd lost siblings to gun violence or who had survived school shootings. These kids are impressive and while I'm ashamed that we adults haven't managed to create a safe world for our kids, I am deeply grateful to these students for taking matters into their own hands. It was also really neat to see the crowd shots on the screen and I realize I was in the middle of that mass of people. I heard 800,000 attended the march in DC.

After the march, which ended promptly at 3:00 I had a few hours to kill, so I went to the National Gallery, hoping to see the Cezanne portrait exhibit, but it didn't open until Sunday. :( Then I went to the Museum of American History, my favorite museum in all the world, and revisited the huge dollhouse, Julia Child's kitchen, and the first lady gown exhibit. (Melania Trump's gown, isolated in its own case was being pointedly ignored by almost all the visitors.) I took a break to sit on the grass on the National Mall and eat the snacks I'd packed and then it was time to head to the station. 

People threaded their signs through the fences along the Mall after the rally.

I wore sunscreen, but still got quite the burn, from standing motionless in the sun for five hours.

Here's to a future in which weapons of war are outlawed and kids don't have to worry about being shot in school.


  1. We went to the local march downtown. My girl pointed out there were several people who were impeccably dressed, which seems fitting for Charlottesville. I did catch part of the DC rally and some of those speakers had me in tears. These kids give me hope.

  2. What a day you had. And I think it's pretty swell that you go to protests alone. Why not?
    I hope someday to live close enough to great museums that I can just pop in. That's one goal I have. I am envious of your location.

    1. It is super convenient to be able to run up to DC so easily. There's a daily train, too. I'm envious of my friends who work in DC and can just pop into a museum on their lunch hour!