Well over 1,000 people turned out for this rally organized by the Veteran's for Peace, Rachel Corrie Chapter. People of all ages carried a wide range of signs and flags in solidarity with the DC anti-war protest.
The signs focused on the war and impeachment. One group had a banner that had tick marks for the 3,000 soldiers who were killed in Iraq. Another banner called on Bush to remember that Jesus stood for peace. A huge Bring Them Home sign captured the overall message of this gathering.
Most of the people were well over 50 years of age and some had their grandchildren with them. Some of the younger people had children with them, giving this day an inter-generational tone. One woman was there with her 80 year old mother; this was her first protest but she had enough of Bush's War and decided to stand up against the war.
Members of the Democratic Party, who were in Olympia for a meeting, joined the 4th Avenue crowd during the lunch break. After the vigil, the crowd gathered in Heritage Park for a few speeches and some music. One of the speakers reminded us that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing again and again and expect a different result. Clearly, he said, the surge was an example of Bush's insanity. Another speaker called for continued collaboration and solidarity as we move into March to protest the 4th anniversary of the Iraq invasion. He also reminded people that it is also the anniversary of the death of Rachel Corrie who was crushed by an Israeli bulldozer.
Today's event reminded me that we are neither helpless or powerless. Our actions may not create change quickly, but we can achieve dramatic change over time. The key is to move from the passive to the active voice! The messages were serious and somber but hope permeated the crowd. This war will end soon and this administration will implode well before 2008.