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Friday, February 24, 2017

The "Woman's March On Washington - A Personal Experience" Story

Marg's story framed by newspaper articles.  Notice Marg's beautiful
cursive handwriting.  They no longer teach that skill in our schools.
Click on photos to enlarge them.
It was an ordinary day.  Reading a story that Marg, a close friend of my wife, gave to Carol to pass along to me.  Marg and her daughter and granddaughter were part of "The Woman's March" in Washington, D.C. on January 21, 2017.  I thought it might be interesting to hear about the experience so I wrote a few questions on a sheet of paper which Carol gave to Marg.  What follows is Marg's story on her exciting day in Washington, D.C. as part of "The Woman's March".  Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

"The Women's March" of January 21, 2017 was the largest group of people I have ever been among in my 71 years.  Because I don't like crowds I did not plan to attend, even though I agree with the reasons why women wanted to march.  But, when our twelve year old granddaughter passed me a note during church asking me to please join her and her mother, I had to say yes.   So at 6:30 a.m. on January 21, Alice, Becca and I boarded one of the many buses leaving from Lancaster.  There were two men on our bus, which led to an amusing situation when the bus stopped for a bathroom break.  A 15 minute stop didn't allow much time when there was only one ladies room, so women lined up at the men's room too.  
Speakers stand
The only time all day I heard someone say "no" to someone was when the men thought they could walk right up to the men's room door without waiting in line.  Everyone was in such a good mood the men just laughed and got at the end of the line.  As we got closer to Washington people got more excited.  There was conversation about how hard it was to sleep the night before, because we couldn't wait to be part of an historical event.  Looking out the bus windows we saw metro stations with long lines mostly of women waiting for transportation into Washington.  What we noticed were pink hats on many women, even some men.  The bus parked among hundreds of other buses at the R.F.K. Stadium.  As we got off the bus a woman we didn't know greeted us with a large box of pink hats.  She said, "I stayed up all night making these hats.  Please take one."  She did not accept our offer to pay for them.  That spirit of friendliness we saw all day.  
One of many posters.
There we were, a group of mostly 40 somethings, a few girls, a few old ladies, all wearing pink hats and wondering how to get from the stadium to the mall area.  A large friendly policeman said not to walk because it wasn't a good neighborhood.  He suggested we take a shuttle.  As we stood waiting for the bus, cars drove by honking and passengers waving and cheering us on.  We felt welcomed to Washington.  Talking to people on the shuttle bus, I realized there were many teachers.  The woman sitting next to me was a teacher from North Carolina.  At the mall area there were people everywhere.  It was hard to know how many people there were, but it was easy to know why they were there.  The signs people were holding represented their concerns.  I've never seen so many interesting and creative signs.  Lots of the signs spoke of Trump being a sexual deviate.  There were many dignified, older women holding signs concerned about the future of planned parenthood.  There were groups concerned about the environment, lots of signs saying "show your taxes"; native Americans with signs saying "keep the oil in the soil"; etc. etc.  
Marg, Alice (photographer) and Becca.
The first event of the day was the rally.  We stood shoulder to shoulder listening to many speakers.  They were activists, authors, television hosts, film makers, the Mayor of Washington, D.C., singers, etc.  I never thought I'd see Madonna, but there she was talking and singing.  The second part of the day was the march.  I don't know the route, but it had to be changed because there were so many more people than expected.  We heard all kinds of chants.  "Refugees are here to stay!" and "This is what a democracy looks like", and many more.  When we got to the Trump Hotel the march stopped and the chants were "Shame on you" and "Pay your taxes".  I don't know how long we marched.  We were getting tired and hungry.  We hadn't eaten in a long time, but we had candy bars in our pockets.  At the end of the march we found a metro station.  Even with hundreds of people we were surprised how quickly the line moved.  Once we were back at R.F.K. Stadium, it was hard to find our bus in the dark among the hundreds of buses.  Once on the bus we felt we had one of the most exciting days of our lives.  I would do it again.  It was thrilling!


I want to thank Marg for writing about her experience.  I certainly couldn't have written about it as well as she did, since she experienced the event.  Years from now, she and her daughter and granddaughter will be able to talk about that day in history when they marched in Washington, D.C. for a cause greater than any other in history of women.  I only wish I had been part of it myself.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

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