The National Mall, Washington, D.C., January 21, 2017 — It was as if an ocean of pink hats was flooding foggy bottom, an alternative name for part of our nation’s capitol. This rising tide symbolized an amazing change in climate compared to the inauguration of the President of the United States only a sunrise earlier.
Millions of women across the globe marched to protect their rights and all human rights under threat from the seismic changes quaking governmental leadership in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world. Their spirit was bright, their energy strong, and their objectives earnest.
When the march was announced we made it known to friends outside Washington that our basement would be a 60’s style crash pad from which they could launch themselves into the Million Woman March. All told, nine folks accepted our hospitality while many more had alternatives elsewhere in the area.
Our posse numbered 11 – six women and five men. Each traveled from Trump country – representing Georgia, Oklahoma, rural Virginia and Pennsylvania. Among them, two mother daughter combinations. My wife and I were the only married couple. Our daughter did her own thing with her friends.
Our group members trickled in starting late Friday afternoon. After we found space for each of them, we fed and watered our herd ahead of an early crash. After all, reveille would be at zero-dark-thirty, early enough to snag METRO parking and seats on the subway.
Pancakes were on the griddle by five a.m. and our herd of cats tumbled onto the subway platform around seven fifteen for a rendezvous with our final partner in crime.
The early start paid off. The trains had empty seats and the crowd near the meet-up point was thin, allowing us to snag a great location just behind the stage where we could watch the speakers prepare. For example, former Speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi walked right past us.
All across the nation, women knitted pink “pussy hats” that were handed free to the crowd. The cat ears were the hat’s defining feature. Their color definitely defined the crowd.
The crowd grew rapidly and topped out in the 600,000 range. Of note, not a single person was arrested. We met people from multiple states and from many foreign countries. The marchers were polite and the conversation serious. Most, but not all, were marching for rights and not against the president.
At a point we decided the press of the crowd was a bit much and determined it would be best if we were to swim closer to the edge. To our amazement, the footprint was far larger than we could have ever imagined. https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fstpetedessertbar%2Fvideos%2F1829944483955749%2F&show_text=0&width=400“>Crowd Video It took nearly a half hour to struggle from our perch near the stage on Independence Avenue northward to the Mall itself.
Ultimately we returned to base for a CNN watch party late into the evening. The animated conversation continued well past breakfast Sunday morning. We met people who didn’t vote, people who were Trump supporters and mostly people who are motivated to protect individual and group rights. You might call that freedom.
Here are a few examples of creativity including the good, bad and the ugly. Warning, some are vulgar.
This woman said Planned Parenthood detected her breast cancer.
End of story.
*I haven’t posted here for awhile. The mundane part of retirement continues, but I was hiking most of the summer. All of that can be found on my sister hiking blog, A fork in the road.