Life and Times

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March on Crystal City

Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Part 5 – Part 6 – Part 7

Part 6

Leaving Pentagon property, and now heading south on Old Jefferson Davis Highway, this is where a number of us were like, okay, now what?  After all, we had reached the Pentagon, and had passed completely through the property.  Now we were on an isolated dusty two-lane road with nothing but dry grasses and fences on either side.  I had been on this road once before when I had to drive to Pentagon City Mall for work and made a wrong turn in the process of getting there, and ending up on this little road.  There’s literally nothing on this road, save for one warehouse.  So where were we going?  Obviously we were in the middle of nowhere, and thus had to go somewhere, if nothing else but to catch the Metro.  I figured we were headed either to Pentagon City or Crystal City, though I had no idea which one, and I was guessing Pentagon City.  I also really started to question the point of this routing, since literally no one except the marchers themselves saw us – a case of preaching to the choir if I’ve ever seen one.

And so we marched down this dusty road.  A number of people in our black bloc, myself included, were starting to wear down by this point, as we had marched for about six miles by this point, with people carrying the bread, the shopping basket, and the chili all this way as well.  Maddy looked a little worn out as well, to which I said, “You look like you could use a hug,” and gave her a quick hug right there in the street.  That seemed to help a bit.  It also felt like I’d picked up a rock in my left shoe at this point.  I couldn’t stop to take care of it, so I attempted to shift it to an area where I wouldn’t feel it, and was apparently successful in doing so.  It also had finally become warm enough to remove my hoodie, which I did, pulling it out from under my tied-on coat, and stuffing it in my bag.  Thus I was down to shirt and jeans, black bandanna hanging down around my neck, and glasses on.  After all, it was a warm day that started out cold, and so I had to adjust.


Marching down an empty stretch of Old Jefferson Davis Highway.  Marching down an empty stretch of Old Jefferson Davis Highway.

Marching down an empty stretch of Old Jefferson Davis Highway.

Marching down an empty stretch of Old Jefferson Davis Highway.  Marching down an empty stretch of Old Jefferson Davis Highway.

Marching down an empty stretch of Old Jefferson Davis Highway.  Marching down an empty stretch of Old Jefferson Davis Highway.

Marching down an empty stretch of Old Jefferson Davis Highway.  Marching down an empty stretch of Old Jefferson Davis Highway.

Marching down an empty stretch of Old Jefferson Davis Highway.  Marching down an empty stretch of Old Jefferson Davis Highway.


Mary stops to smile for a photo.

Mary stops to smile for a photo.


“Hey, Obama!  We want change in Gaza!”


Upon reaching civilization again at the end of Old Jefferson Davis Highway, we found ourselves in Crystal City.  Okay, sure.  None of us in our black bloc were quite sure where we were going to end up, and I for one started imagining this march going on and on and on, roughly following Route 1 through Arlington, past Washington National Airport, and beyond to Alexandria.  Thankfully, this would not be the case.

In Crystal City, our march followed Crystal Drive past many high-rise buildings.  Many of these buildings were office buildings, and many of these buildings were filled with defense contractors.  However, as Crystal City is very much a business district, which meant that like in 2007, we were shouting and protesting in front of office buildings that were mostly empty, even if they did house defense contractors inside – so who were we protesting to?  However, there are some residential buildings in the mix, plus Crystal City is attempting to remake itself as a mixed-use neighborhood full of bars and restaurants, meaning we weren’t strictly preaching to the choir – there would be at least some non-participants for us to get our message out to.


Arriving in Crystal City.

Arriving in Crystal City.


From a balcony along our march route, a number of non-participants took a moment to watch our march pass by.

From a balcony along our march route, a number of non-participants took a moment to watch our march pass by.


The march continues through the streets of Crystal City.  The march continues through the streets of Crystal City.

The march continues through the streets of Crystal City.


In Crystal City, ANSWER resumed its usual stop-and-go routine, and so everyone spent a few minutes waiting in the street.  In Crystal City, ANSWER resumed its usual stop-and-go routine, and so everyone spent a few minutes waiting in the street.

In Crystal City, ANSWER resumed its usual stop-and-go routine, and so everyone spent a few minutes waiting in the street.

In Crystal City, ANSWER resumed its usual stop-and-go routine, and so everyone spent a few minutes waiting in the street.  In Crystal City, ANSWER resumed its usual stop-and-go routine, and so everyone spent a few minutes waiting in the street.

In Crystal City, ANSWER resumed its usual stop-and-go routine, and so everyone spent a few minutes waiting in the street.  In Crystal City, ANSWER resumed its usual stop-and-go routine, and so everyone spent a few minutes waiting in the street.


One of the demonstrators from the original black bloc that met up in Farragut Square engaged in some general silliness for the camera while we waited.  One of the demonstrators from the original black bloc that met up in Farragut Square engaged in some general silliness for the camera while we waited.

One of the demonstrators from the original black bloc that met up in Farragut Square engaged in some general silliness for the camera while we waited.


"You must be burning up!" was my comment when seeing the outfit that this woman was wearing.  At least around her head, she is wearing three layers: an open-face ski mask, a hooded sweatshirt, and a bandanna mask.  Who knows how much she had on underneath the rest of the hoodie.  "You must be burning up!" was my comment when seeing the outfit that this woman was wearing.  At least around her head, she is wearing three layers: an open-face ski mask, a hooded sweatshirt, and a bandanna mask.  Who knows how much she had on underneath the rest of the hoodie.

“You must be burning up!” was my comment when seeing the outfit that this woman was wearing.  At least around her head, she is wearing three layers: an open-face ski mask, a hooded sweatshirt, and a bandanna mask.  Who knows how much she had on underneath the rest of the hoodie.

This woman was one of the participants in our original black bloc that met up at Farragut Square which, by now, seemed so long ago, but since we initially gathered, the temperature had risen considerably, and so while this much clothing might have been suitable early on, by now, it had to be swelteringly hot under all that.  I understand why black blocs dress as they do, and the importance of what one wears when participating in a black bloc, but I was afraid she would overheat and pass out from heat exhaustion.


A photographer takes a moment to shoot a photo of the assembled crowd.

A photographer takes a moment to shoot a photo of the assembled crowd.


This woman is decked out from head to toe in various symbols representing the peace movement, from peace signs drawn on her face to flowers on the lining of her Chucks.  This woman is decked out from head to toe in various symbols representing the peace movement, from peace signs drawn on her face to flowers on the lining of her Chucks.

This woman is decked out from head to toe in various symbols representing the peace movement, from peace signs drawn on her face to flowers on the lining of her Chucks.


And after what turned out to be a longer-than-expected pause, we were underway again.

And after what turned out to be a longer-than-expected pause, we were underway again.

And after what turned out to be a longer-than-expected pause, we were underway again.


The old chant of, “The people, united, will never be defeated!” is slightly modified for this march, becoming, “The left, united, will never be defeated!”


And stopped again.  Come on, ANSWER, what gives?

And stopped again.  Come on, ANSWER, what gives?

And stopped again.  Come on, ANSWER, what gives?

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Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Part 5 – Part 6 – Part 7

Part 6