It was the first march I had ever attended. The first of many. It was bitterly cold but spirits were incredibly high, hopeful, joyful. There was a tremendous sense of togetherness, determination to do the right thing no matter how physically testing. A sense of being on the edge of a breakthrough; that common sense, humanity and a will for peace would prevail.
There were four of us. We remember being particularly moved by someone playing “All You Need is Love” from their balcony window. Also the great roar that surged from the back, of the march, far, far away; how it broke over us and roared on through to somewhere up front and then roared back. It was like being bathed in hope.
The march was more of a stutter. Stop for ages, then walk a bit, then stop for ages again. It took us hours to reach the rally point, by which time that was all over. As we left the park, there were still people marching in. Loads of them. They just kept coming.
I never believed the reported figures – which keep dropping lower every time the BBC reports on the day so that would suggest the original estimates were right ie nearer 2 million.
We went home, happy that we had done our best to stand up for justice, truth and right thinking and expecting there would be no war. To hear Tony Blair saying that he knew better and was taking us to war was unbearably painful.
Many people we knew became really unwell afterwards. Was it the weather or the bitter blow to democracy?
It was very clear to me that we had failed because we let him get away with that. We should have stuck by what we believed and protested the next day, and the next, and the next….until we got the right answer. We still haven’t learned that lesson but we will. I pray that will be very soon.