New York, United States
It was bitterly cold on that day in Northern New York, but that didn’t stop the hundreds who gathered in the Chapel of St Lawrence University to hear speakers before we set out to march. Bundled to our eyeballs we walked out en masse through the main thoroughfares, holding signs and trying to stay warm. Students, faculty, housewives, clerks, the unemployed, pastors, farmers, we made sure our voices were heard in this tiny upstate town.
At the end we gathered at the local Unitarian Universalist Church where the members had prepared hot drinks and food for us. Did we make a difference? Yes, we did, because we realized that we all shared a common community.
Meanwhile my oldest daughter was in Paris, France, with a high school exhange program for two weeks. Paris, the site of one of the largest of the worldwide demonstrations, and my daughter, a very vocal activist against the war. I remember calling the hotel repeatedly that evening to make sure that she had not in fact “escaped” from the watchful eyes of her chaperones and joined the millions in the streets in protest.
I found out her teacher had prudently taken the group early in the morning outside of Paris as she had worried herself about the possibility of the students, being Americans when Americans were not exactly favorite people, joining in and putting themselves in danger. I’m not sure I am glad they could not take part, for they would have been able to see the difference between feelings towards our government and feelings towards individual Americans. Ah, well.