Saturday began gray, but the sun came out for NYC United for Peace and Justice’s RIVER TO RIVER. We live near 14th street, the one chosen for the action, so we went to the block nearest our home. We found ourselves among Brooklynites because the block between 9th and 10th Avenues was the meeting-place for them. I saw familiar faces, because the Peace movement in NYC is like that, but it was new and pleasant to stand among the families of Park Slope, Bay Ridge and Fort Greene who had come with banners and signs.
We stood on the sidewalk, facing the traffic. We got thumbs- up and honks of approval. At 1:00, the Eastern and Western ends began to march towards one another inside police barriers creating a lane for marchers. Passing each group as we walked towards Union Square we felt our connection. Lots of smiles together.
Yet we were subdued on the 5th anniversary of a destructive war. In Union Square Leslie Cagan, the National Coordinator of UFPJ, led us in a time of silence when each of us held up a photo of someone killed during the past five years of the conflict. The bells tolled; Holly Near sang beautifully of the pain and loss we were all feeling. A mother from Families of Iraq Veterans for Peace urged each of us to find two people and invite them to become active in a meaningful way towards ending the war. One way, to accomplish this, I sadly realized, would be to get them to accompany us to Union Square on the day after the announcement of the 4,000th U.S. military death. There will be a vigil there.
– Caroline Chinlund,
Granny Peace Brigade