Warwick contingent among those who marched for peace in D.C.

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:55

    WARWICK-Jan Howe was faced with a dilemma last week: She had more people wanting to travel to Washington for the peace demonstration on Sept. 24 than would fit on the bus she had booked. At the same time, there were no buses available for that day, partly because other peace groups were also overbooked and had reserved extra buses. Rolling V, which provided the first bus, offered a school bus and Jan took it. Altogether about 80 people made the trip down and back from Warwick. The ride may have been a bit less comfortable, but on reaching Washington, "I was so happy to see the huge crowds," Howe said. Howe, of Warwick, is a member of Women in Black, Drama Dragons and Orange County Peace and Justice Coalition, the bus sponsors. The Drama Dragons planned an action that could include many of the passengers in addition to the street theater group's members. Wearing black, with gauzy black shawls covering their heads, they took up poses of grief. Several wore sandwich boards with pictures of Americans and Iraqis who died in the Iraq war. "I walked with a Vietnam veteran," she said. "He felt that war was not right, but he had always been apathetic. After Bush was elected, he got active in politics." Susan McDonald of Warwick was one of those who had never before been involved in demonstrations. "I was impressed with the range of participation, from babies to the elderly," she said. "All colors of the rainbow were there, and everyone was extremely pleasant. It was deeply satisfying and powerful." McDonald said she had never been politically active. But as the war escalated, "I became more and more furious. I had to do something," she added. While the speeches took place on the Ellipse across from the Washington Monument, many participants were lined up on Constitution Avenue, unable to fit onto the Ellipse. The Drama Dragons performed here, moving into a living sculpture showing grief. They appeared to be comforting each other as they moved from pose to pose. Hundreds of passers-by stopped to watch and take pictures. Sally Leonard of Warwick said she was impressed with the number of students who were involved in the demonstration. One of several on the bus was her daughter, Samantha. The number of kids from college was impressive, she said, as was the demeanor of the huge crowd, which Washington Police estimated at 150,000 according to The Washington Post. "It was a peaceful, calm statement of the desire for peace," Leonard said. Women in Black conduct a vigil and march through Warwick on Sundays at 1 p.m. They meet across from the South Street Parking Lot.