My husband Neil and I were alarmed at the ever increasing calls for war in late 2002 and early 2003. When we learned that there would be a march in New York on February 15 to demand that our country not attack Iraq, we were determined to be there. We live in Virginia, about 45 miles from DC. We investigated various methods of transportation, knowing that having a car there would not be a good idea. Ultimately we settled on Amtrak and our son and daughter-in-law (who lived in a MD suburb of DC) wanted to join us.
The four of us left from Union Station early Saturday morning, carrying our home-made signs. It was clear we were not the only Amtrak passengers headed for the march because we saw others with signs. We had arranged to meet friends (a couple who live near the route of the march) in the area near the Plaza Hotel.
We walked from Penn Station midst what felt like a small sea of people, all moving in the same direction, many with signs similar to ours, and found our friends in the crowd.
As we neared the march area (First Ave., if I remember correctly) we were told by police to remove any wooden sticks (potential weapons) from our signs. Only paper tubes were permitted. The crowd had already grown so large by the time we reached the east side that we had to keep walking uptown to find a place to join it behind the metal barriers (they felt like cattle pens) used by police on horseback to manage the crowd. We had a sense that the police were completely unprepared for the size of the crowd that turned out.
It was a very cold day and we were so many blocks from the speakers that we could only hear them on radios that some smart folks had with them. We took a break to warm up in our friends' apartment and then rejoined the crowd.
For us, since we did not hear much of what was said on the stage, our day was mostly comprised of feeling part of the huge throng of concerned citizens, standing in the freezing cold, being managed by the police, because not one of us wanted our country attacking Iraq in our name. We were not aware at the time we were in NYC that so many millions of people around the world were expressing themselves in the same way.
We took the train home that evening, arrived in DC, picked up our car and drove our son and daughter-in-law to their home in Maryland around midnight, I believe. The first snow flakes were beginning to fall, but we made it back to Virginia before the roads became treacherous. Sunday was a very snowy day and we were grateful that the storm held off and permitted us to be in New York on a day we will never forget.
I have a few photographs of our little group posted below.