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This is gonna be long, so bear with me….or don’t ;o)
I woke up this morning with the anticipation of returning home to my family after being in Washington for what I’ve heard are the largest anti-war demonstrations in 35 years. As I stood in my Mother in law’s kitchen making coffee I realized that the sun was shining outside for the first time in three days. Normally I wouldn’t think much of this, though I do love a bright crisp morning with brilliant sunshine. But for three days the clouds hung low over Washington and this was fitting because the occasion was a somber one, at least for me, and the clouds mirrored my mood. Although I witnessed many uplifting moments along the way, I couldn’t shake the feelings of anger and sadness.
The day before I left to go to Washington I went to the hardware store to buy an American Flag, capitol A, capitol F. I wanted the biggest one they had because I wanted everyone to see that it was there, with us where it belongs. I’m a goddamned American. On Veterans Day you will find that flag flying in front of my house. It’s there on Memorial Day and it’s there on the Fourth Of July. You see I’m getting pretty fed up with make believe patriots telling me that that flag belongs to them. I’m getting fucking sick and tired of sleazy oil traders and war criminals telling me and my friends that we’re traitors for questioning this war. They need to read a little history I think. This country, my country, for all it’s faults and brutal past, was born of the blood of dissenters and insurgents. Were it not for their determination to confront their oppressors and demand their freedom, and most importantly, their desire to struggle on to the rightful conclusion, there would be no you and there would be no me.

I arrived in town on the morning of the march. The city felt alive to me. I know that cities feel this way but it was something more. What impressed me first was how many young people there were. I’ve been worried lately that the youth of this country are not getting involved, but that fear has been laid to rest now as I watched so many of them streaming into the city on the metro and down the sidewalks toward the White House. I remember feeling proud of them, like a parent feels proud when your child surprises you and does something good. All around as I walked toward the hotel for the meetup with the Bootribbers and the Kossacks, there were little and not so little groups of people gathering and talking sort of softly it seemed. They were planning and setting rendevous points. It was encouraging. I was having some trouble finding the hotel so I stopped to call CabinGirl to get directions. As I’m dialing her number, a group of people asked me if I knew where the Holiday Inn was. The same one I was looking for. I said hang on I’m checking it out right now. That was cool :o) They were Kossacks from Colorado and this was the second time I was impressed. When I got to the hotel I went inside and immediatly recognized Steven D and Damnit Janet from the pictures that were posted from the Brewery meetup the night before. In hindsight, seeing the results of Tracy’s discovery of Booman on her floor, I’m certain it was best that I missed it because it would have been inevitable that she would have found two strange, how did Booman put it, ah…non-responsive men on her floor :o) I know Tracy can handle a lot, but I’m not sure she could have handled that! Let me just say that we’re lucky to have such a good natured dude running this blog. So I decide to go up and introduce myself to Steven and Janet. Steven is close to how I pictured him. I don’t quite know how to describe him other than my first impression which was that he was quiet, or softspoken but strong. He introduced me to his son Daniel who looked to be still shaking off sleep. A real nice kid. Quiet like his father :o) Next Janet, and this was fun. I said hi, I’m Mike, kinda regular you know, and she said hi, I’m Janet, who are you wi…..SUPERSOLING! Gosh man. Janet is a nice huggy person. You know what I mean :o) It was like finally meeting my long lost sister and that’s the way she made me feel. Instant buddies. That moment will be etched in my memory forever, among many others. Eventually CabinGirl and her sons, who deserve a diary devoted just to them :o), came down from upstairs and she found me and introduced herself. Another Blog sister. I spent a good part of the day with them, which worked out good for me because you’de be hard pressed to find a nicer lady to hang out with. CabinGirl smiles a lot and I really like that about her. I met Cedwyn, a Kossack/Tribber who is difficult to describe only in that I want to do justice to the freespirit I found her to be. I felt lucky to spend a short time with her before we got seperated. She carried three small American Flags planted in her hair and she reminded me of a cross between a flower child and a Generation X’er, with a degree in political science. A woman after my own heart :o) I also met Ryan, Janet’s brother from Boston, really from Boston ;o) Another quiet guy, or so I thought ;o) Slip and Slide! I met Booman briefly, but as it turned out, I was able to spend some good time with him later during the rally. I think I can share a little of that later without revealing too much of the mystery of the guy. I then met Boston Joe who is…well…not from Boston as we now know, but from Michigan. This guy is sharp, as I’m sure you all know by now after reading his diary about the March. He’s another who is hard to describe. He smiles alot too. Like I said, I like that. And he can write like a Motherfu….:o) I met our esteemed Brother Feldspar who is a fine metropolitan man and a damned good photographer too. Without him, the Sunday that so touched those of us who spent it together, wouldn’t have been possible. Do me, and yourselves a favor and ask him about Franklin Roosevelt sometime :o) Last, but most certainly not least, not by a long shot, came Tracy. I think I can say that many of you probably feel the same way about her as I do. I feel drawn to her. She is a powerful force. I have been in awe of her since the first time I started reading her comments at dKos. When I went to and returned from Crawford without meeting her, even though I was there on the last day that she was there, I felt deeply disappointed. So having this opportunity to meet her come up again was something that made me very happy. It took some time for all of us to get comfortable with each other, even though we know so much about each other from here. It took me a little longer, but that’s just how I am. Janet asked me Sunday if I was ok. I guess something about the way I looked concerned her. That was nice. I assured her I was fine. I’m just a quiet person most of the time and I think to myself a lot. I can see how it might seem stand offish or distant, but it’s more about being shy.

Still with me? Good, good.
We decided that we should get going toward the Ellipse and try to find a place to get some coffee along the way, as in spite of Shycats planning and kind efforts, the hotel totally fucked up the breakfast she had so kindly arranged for us. You know what Shycat? I’ll gladly take the thought and caring that you put forth for us over any meal. You helped to fuel our hearts and our souls and the value of that will not soon be forgotten :o) A couple of blocks down, we found a Starbucks $!&*%?!! corporate coffee shop. Hey, coffee is essential. I’ll let it slide. Sorry, that’s the closet anarchist in me :o) Here I also met Frisco from dKos, another good guy. I watched him watching the events unfolding and you could see how pleased he was with it all. it was written all over his face. Dear Janet was reaching out to her Code Pink sisters as they passed by and in this way we met a nice lady from Texas who’d also been to Crawford. You know, no matter how big the world seems sometimes, there are moments, special moments, when it gets small enough again to put your arms around. Thank the Great Spirit for that.
Just before we moved on, a lady came up to me and warned me that I wouldn’t be allowed to bring my flag along because the authorities, who ever they were, were banning any kinds of sticks. To be honest here, when I got out of my truck at the metro station, I thought about that possibility and considered leaving it for that reason. That lasted about one split second till I told myself, fuck that, I’m bringing this flag. So, to the lady who warned me…nice try. I told my friends I’d carry my flag till someone stopped me and then they’de get only the stick ’cause I was keeping the flag. As it turned out, no one gave me a problem about it, lucky for them.

The Rally seemed to get off to a slow start. It was announced that thousands of people had been stranded all along the northeast corridor because of a supposed power failure with Amtrak. This did not go over well with the crowd, nor with us. At this point in our national nightmare, there’s nothing that I wouldn’t put past the slime bag Rove, but in spite of any craven White House attempt at delaying the inevitable, the longer the day got, the bigger the crowd got. Pictures don’t do it justice. BTW, while I’m on the subject of pictures, nearly my entire collection of pictures I took came out fuzzy and out of focus. Bummer. But there have been more than enough fine images posted by others here who know how to actually operate tricky machinery :o) It was here that we met up with the rest of the Kossack contingent. PastorDan mistook me for Booman because I wrote Booman at the bottom of my nametag to distinguish myself from the Kossack group. There I go being territorial again. Fortunately when I met up with Booman himself later, i was able to procure the very last BT shirt he had left, so I’ll never have that problem again. It was kinda uncomfortable for a second there as I struggled to think of something cosmically important to say like I’m sure Booman would have, but at least I had my fleeting moment of blog fame :o) At this time I was approached by a very elegant looking young lady named Tampopo. She came over and introduced herself to me and proceeded to make my entire day when she told me how much she liked reading the things that I post. Aw Shucks :o) I was lovin that for sure. You see, in spite of my downcast mood, I was surrounded by such exceptional people as she all day and were it not for them I think that it would’ve been so much more difficult for me to take away any positive feelings about the day. I don’t mean to say that I felt it was useless, quite the opposite. It’s the realization at the depths of the destructive direction our country is headed in that eats at me. Realistically, this is going to be a long struggle back to where we can even get back to the business of righting all the wrongs we had before Bush came along and started us on this catastrophic course.

I’ll end this first part of my recollection of the 24th with this picture of a lone bagpiper.  Bagpipes produce such a mournful sound. When I hear them I always get a lump in my throat. Maybe this is because I associate that sound with a funeral. The thing is, I also associate that sound with an ancient, primal fierceness. So while I feel  sorrowful when I hear them, at the same time I feel a pride and a determination swelling in me and that’s how I feel about our situation right now. My heart is breaking from witnessing all the senseless death and hatred that is being unleashed by our country’s actions. But at the same time I get a powerful sense of energy and resolve that somehow, all of us who care, will turn this around. I for one, pledge to you now, if you need me, I AM THERE. You can count on me, just like I know I can count on all of you to BE THERE. See.. I ain’t letting them take my country down to hell with them and they will never, ever, have my children to fight their criminal wars. Not without a hell of a fight.

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