Sunday, January 28, 2007

Mrs. Johnson goes to Washington

January 27, 2007 was a day slated for protests against the war across the country. News reports stated there were "tens of thousands" of protestors in DC.

What they missed was that many of those "tens of thousands" at the Capitol and on the national mall were folks just like us. We were not protesting the war, but chance brought us here on this day.

We shared a hotel with an organization called "Military Families Speak Out," a group of families who have gained their share of media attention as they protest the war in Iraq. On Saturday morning, the Metro carried old and young people carrying hand lettered signs and sign making kits. It also carried at least one military family who simply came to see the sights of Washington DC.

Our first stop was a tour of the Capitol, lunch at Tortilla Coast, and then a walk over to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. As the rest of the family explored the museum, I slipped out the back door onto the national mall and walked into the protest. Susan Sarandon was speaking. A man with a sign was standing next to me, and I asked him if he knew any soldiers. He didn't. I told him my son is a soldier. There was no reply. We kept talking and the man's wife joined us, I asked them what they thought would happen if we pulled out of Iraq, and they shrugged. I asked if they supposed many Iraqi's would die, and they said they suppose they would. Then came the surprising part of the conversation...I asked if they thought it would be like Vietnam and the woman said she thought it would. So, I asked what happened in Vietnam after we left. She said: "They became all one country, and they were happy." I said: "Interesting." After a bit more talk, they simply walked away.

I also spoke with a man who was holding an "Out of Iraq" signed that was produced by moveon.org. (These were the most prevelant signs at the protest.) I asked the man what he was doing here and he said he was a professor at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He brought a group of students out to DC for a tax policy contest and they had won the competition. I congratulated him, and then asked: "but why are you here today?" The response was that he wanted to see the protest (as he held a protest sign.)

All the reports I've seen state that there were "tens of thousands" at the protest at the national mall. Ten thousand - probably. Twenty thousand - maybe. Thirty thousand - definitey not. Here's a photo taken at 1:41 p.m., at the height of the protest, just before a march was supposed to start.

My family then joined me as we walked through the protestors and made our way to Washington Memorial, the World War II Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Vietnam Memorial. Then we headed for the White House and what turned out to be the highlight of the day.

As we approached the front gate of the White House, a small group of people had been stopped on the sidewalk. No one was allowed to cross in front of the gate. In a few moments a guard dressed in black and carrying a serious looking machine gun came out to the corner by the gate where we were standing. A group of about thirty people were now stopped, and there were no protestors. They were all on the other side of the White House and on the mall. The crowd was talking in hushed tones as we waited to see what this was all about.

Suddenly, through the front gate appeared former President George H.W. Bush along with what appeared to be family members. People clapped. No one shouted protests. The former President and his companions slowly walked across the street in front of us. No one approached him until he got to the other side when a woman went up and shook his hand. It was very, very cool.

It is, indeed, an amazing country...one in which protesters are free to gather and call for the President's impeachment on one side of the White House, while on the other the President's father and predecessor walks calmly through an applauding crowd.

1 comment:

jennifer said...

I am so sad for the country having these liberals spew their agenda of global hate towards the US.

I am thankful for you and your family's commitment to our country.

My dad was killed in Vietnam 2 months before I was born. I have grown up under the shadow of hate towards the soldiers of Vietnam. My childhood was one of of Vietnam soldiers being called baby killers. It was not pleasant knowing that I was and still am proud of my father yet those around me couldn't see clearly why Vietnam was necessary and why we failed. My dad believed in our country.

I can't believe how painfully ignorant the left is about the world, and how hateful they are towards our country.

Take care and my prayers will be for you and yours.
Jennifer in New Mexico