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normalnoises

A Day of Peaceful Protest - My Journal

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A Day of Peaceful Protest

By Normal Noises

Hamilton, Mass. Oct 14, 2002

Despite getting only 4 hours of sleep the night before the day's event on Columbus Day I committed myself to my journey to Hamilton, Mass. for the protest. I grabbed my flag with the words, "THIS FLAG KILLS" on it (damn, I forgot to bring my Ovation CC-026 cutaway acoustic guitar) and tossed it in my cah (Boston accent, excuse me) and proceeded on my journey which was actually a 10 minute drive from where I live.

Despite overshooting my exit from the main highway and ultimately having to reverse direction to put me in the right direction I made it to Patton Park (named after WWII General Patton) 15 minutes early which gave me enough time to make a sign out of make-shift materials I dug up among the mess in my cluttered vehicle, but the odds and ends I found made good. I wrote "NO BLOOD FOR OIL" (Ironically my sign was mentioned in today's local area newspaper among others mentioned) and below that it read, "WAR IS TERRORISM" and I duck-taped it on a wooden flagpole, the kind that attaches to a bracket to the wall of a house while other protesters filtered into the park in their autos and gathering around another while one of the organizers (two mothers from the otherwise conservative small Massachusetts community organized the protest) made a speech before the 2 1/2 mile walk began.

I made my arrival to the congregation of about 150 or so protesters half way through the speech, receiving pamphlets from other people who were handing them out.

We marched down the main drag of Hamilton along the sidewalk crunching fallen leaves on this sunny but otherwise brisk fall day while news photographers from various newspapers lined the street and took pictures, and passing cars beeped their horns in appreciation of the efforts put fourth by us. A reporter from one of the local area papers marched along with us taking notes.

On the march I observed other signs such as "JESUS CHRIST, PRINCE OF PEACE", "WHERE'S JIMMY CARTER WHEN WE NEED HIM?" and in front of me were a couple of children who were both holding a sign made of posterboard that said, "PROTECT MY FAMILY. STOP THE WAR" and they chanted "PEACE, PEACE, PEACE..." then changed to "HAVE A SLICE OF PEACE." I smiled as I thought this was so cute.

We marched as far as the First Congregational Church which was across from a cemetery and we sang "We Shall Overcome" then we turned around and marched back twords Patton Park.

On the way back a Stephen Stills song from his Buffalo Springfield days struck me ("For What's It's Worth") so I hummed it while I was beating feet, crunching the fallen leaves as I felt it was fitting for the event. (I wish I hadn't forgotten my guitar).

When we made it back to the Park, a lone counter-protester was standing a few feet from us with a sign that read, "PEACE HAS A PRICE. SUPPORT OUR PRESIDENT AND OUR TROOPS".

I observed one of the protesters walking up to him in an attempt to give him some pamphlets thus trying to educate the "yeeha".

The counter-protester walked away with a disgusted look on his face.

Meanwhile I gave my name and address as well as my email to a represenative of a local peace group so I can get newsletters of upcoming protests to join.

In all, it was a great day and the day was ours.

-Rich

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