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March on the Pentagon

Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3

Part 3

While waiting to see what happened, I ended up striking up a conversation with a girl in a blue hoodie and bandanna from Florida.  Turned out she was from Tampa, and had graduated from the University of South Florida.  We took a while to get acquainted.  She mentioned that the cold weather on this particular day was something she was not used to, as it was in the 70s down in Florida.  She also helped me up onto the guardrail, so I could get some bird’s-eye views of the action.  All in all, we had a good conversation.  Maybe we’ll meet again one day, perhaps at another protest.


A bird's-eye view of the impasse...  A bird's-eye view of the impasse...

A bird’s-eye view of the impasse…

A bird's-eye view of the impasse...  A bird's-eye view of the impasse...

A bird's-eye view of the impasse...  A bird's-eye view of the impasse...


All the while, the mainstream march group was continuing to arrive at the Pentagon's north parking lot.

All the while, the mainstream march group was continuing to arrive at the Pentagon’s north parking lot.

All the while, the mainstream march group was continuing to arrive at the Pentagon's north parking lot.


And the standoff continued...  And the standoff continued...

And the standoff continued…

And the standoff continued...  And the standoff continued...


One person stuck a sign saying "Free the Army" in a nearby fence.

One person stuck a sign saying “Free the Army” in a nearby fence.


A black flag flew from another fence.

A black flag flew from another fence.


And Park Police helicopters were flying overhead.

And Park Police helicopters were flying overhead.


Meanwhile, I got a photo of Dick Cheney's head again.  The last time I'd seen that head was in September, when I visited Camp Democracy.  I also have a photo of myself posing with that head from the No Armageddon For Bush rally.

Meanwhile, I got a photo of Dick Cheney’s head again.  The last time I’d seen that head was in September, when I visited Camp Democracy.  I also have a photo of myself posing with that head from the No Armageddon For Bush rally.


Rumors were also flying a bit, most notably that there was another group of police on the other side some distance away, meaning that we were penned in.  Thankfully, this was not the case, as the way appeared clear.  Meanwhile, three journalists were arrested during the standoff.


I believe that this was related to the arrests of the three journalists.  As you can see, I couldn’t see a thing.


Eventually, one of the more vocal members of SDS, who had helped facilitate discussions back at 23rd and Constitution in DC back in what seemed so long ago, announced that a group would be returning to Washington to head to the recruitment center at 14th and L Streets NW.  That group left the site of the standoff, and returned to DC.  The main rationale for returning to Washington was that it was more protester-friendly.  They couldn’t mass arrest in DC, and we had better knowledge about how DC cops operated in protest situations than for police forces in Virginia.


Departing, to return to Washington...

Departing, to return to Washington…

Departing, to return to Washington...


I determined that whatever we were going to say had likely been said.  I knew where I was in relation to the Metro, and decided that it was time to go.  I found out later that the police never pepper sprayed, and the standoff continued until they brought in the paddy wagons, at which time the sit-in finally dispersed on its own.  In regards to the group that was returning to Washington, I found out that they were quickly broken up by police forces as soon as they got back over the bridge, which by then had been reopened to traffic.  My understanding is that two were arrested – for what, I don’t know.

So I was headed north towards Arlington Cemetery station.  I also helped a number of people find Arlington Cemetery station, since I seemed to be one of the few people present that knew the area fairly well.  All those DC trips paid off.  A number of people wondered why we were going to Arlington Cemetery station rather than what would appear more logical on paper: Pentagon station.  I explained.  Pentagon station was all the way around on the south side of the Pentagon.  We were a bit north of the Pentagon.  Thus to get to Pentagon station, we’d have to go all the way around the Pentagon.  And the Pentagon is a lot bigger than it looks.  Plus we’d have to go through the line of riot cops.  Bad idea.


After the march was over, everyone entered the Metro at Arlington Cemetery station.

After the march was over, everyone entered the Metro at Arlington Cemetery station.


Arriving at Arlington Cemetery station, I quickly changed back into my original green shirt, and packed the black.  I also put on my glasses again, and fixed my hair.  And ta-daa!  We were back in DC trip configuration.  Right about then, I got a text message from Dad: “Are you alive?”  I called him back, and let him know that yes, I made it through just fine, and that counter-protesters were as I expected – a bunch of hot air.  Going down into the station, at the farecard machines, the lines were obscenely long, as many people had to buy farecards to get back home.  I had the day pass, so I was fine.  I just went on up to the inbound platform to catch a Blue Line train: Breda 3047.


Due to the protest, it was a much bigger crowd on the platforms than Arlington Cemetery usually sees!  Due to the protest, it was a much bigger crowd on the platforms than Arlington Cemetery usually sees!

Due to the protest, it was a much bigger crowd on the platforms than Arlington Cemetery usually sees!

Due to the protest, it was a much bigger crowd on the platforms than Arlington Cemetery usually sees!  Due to the protest, it was a much bigger crowd on the platforms than Arlington Cemetery usually sees!


Catching the Metro at the end of a protest.


On the Metro, I ended up spending some time having a conversation with some people who got on at Foggy Bottom.  They’d been in the black bloc, and we discussed how the march back to DC went.  It turned out that those who returned to DC to head to the recruitment center got nailed upon their arrival in Washington DC, and never made it to the recruitment center.  I rode on the Blue Line with this group to Metro Center, where we all transferred to a Silver Spring-bound Red Line train.  They were going to Silver Spring, and I was going to Union Station.  Arriving at Union Station, I bid them farewell, and exited the Metro.  I needed to sit down.

At Union Station, I first found a restroom, and then later bought some lemonade.  I also sucked down the contents of one of my two water bottles very quickly.  Meanwhile, I ended up striking up a conversation with a gentleman from Illinois.  He was a solid Democrat, and really excited with his politics.  He was in DC for a family event.

After we finished our discussion, I headed to the Infoshop.  I especially like going to the Infoshop right after protests, because there are often people over there who had been to the protest as well, and so we can compare experiences and share stories.  This time did not disappoint.  I also got to meet David Rovics, and wrote a quick Journal entry about the protest as that little way of telling everyone that I made it through just fine, along with a quick note about how it went.

Then from the Infoshop, I returned to the Metro, and rode the Yellow Line down to Pentagon City.  By now it was evening, and I was thinking about dinner, and I was thinking about going to Champps.  It turned out that with it being St. Patrick’s Day and a weekend to boot, Champps was hopping.  There were a lot of people waiting to get into Champps, as every table was full.  I decided the heck with it, and developed a Plan B.  That other plan was to go to the IHOP restaurant in Ballston.  So I took the Metro and rode over to Ballston.  There, I had dinner.  And then it was back to Vienna for me.


The Sable flashes a big smile for the camera upon my return to the North Garage at Vienna.

The Sable flashes a big smile for the camera upon my return to the North Garage at Vienna.


Arriving at Vienna, I was homeward bound.  All I have to say is that this was a wonderful trip, and an awesome protest.  Counter-protesters be damned.  A few hate mail letters can’t keep a good activist down.

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Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3

Part 3