<\body> Stories in America: Anti-War Grannies Walk From New York to Washington DC

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Anti-War Grannies Walk From New York to Washington DC

Hmm...I wonder why this wasn't worthy of any coverage in the liberal media. MSNBC's Nora O'Donnell was kind enough to ask Cindy Sheehan incredibly hostile questions. Weren't the grannies worth mentioning?

This was written by Joan Wile, Director, Grandmothers Against the War and Proud Granny Peace Brigader. To read her entire article, click here.

The Granny Peace Brigaders completed the final leg of their trek from New York City to Washington in sweltering, blazing sun in the nation's capitol. But the extreme heat was not enough to curb our actions on July 3 and July 4. Fortified with gallons of water, sun hats and sun screen, we elders walked and walked and stood for hours in the 90-plus humid heat without a single case of heat exhaustion or heat stroke occurring.

Our Washington sojourn began on July 3 in Dupont Circle, where we were met by Cindy Sheehan, Daniel Ellsberg, Dick Gregory, Medea Benjamin, and others, all of whom escorted us grandmas on foot to the main event -- a rally at the beautiful Gandhi Statue. Vinie Burrows, our famed Broadway actress/playwright granny, gave a powerful speech at both locations, which was widely quoted in press and media all over the world. Other eloquent speeches were made by Ms. Sheehan, Mr. Ellsberg, and Mr. Gregory, and a marvelous orator from San Franisco, Rev. Yearwood, who mesmerized the audience.

The next day, Independence Day! What to do as a final expression of our mission to awaken the public to the need for direct action to end the war in Iraq? Well, who besides Bush is principally responsible for the whole mess in Iraq? You guessed it -- Dick Cheney. So, early in the morning, we hied off to the Naval Observatory residence of Mr. Cheney (anther non-resider), where we again chanted and sang and generally vented our spleen at this most horrendous of men. We were amazed at the number of cars which honked in support of us as they drove past outside the Vice President's token house. They were not, for the most part, people from deprived homes, we speculated, given the kinds of cars they were driving and the very tony neighborhood they were driving in. Is this a sign of further slippage of support for the Bushies, we fervently hope?

After more vigils and walks along the National Mall, we piled wearily into our bus for the ride back to New York. I was sitting near the front and at one point looked toward the rear and saw approximately ten people sound asleep.

In discussing our trek, the consensus seemed to be that although it had been quite difficult and enervating, especially given the extreme heat, it was a worthwhile and interesting endeavor. And, there was universal agreement that the people who housed and fed us every step of the way were magnificent in their commitment to peace and the hospitality they showed all of us.

I'd like to quote brief comments by a few of the grannies about their impressions of our journey:

Our oldest granny, Marie Runyon, 91, legally blind and somewhat deaf but who kept up with us every step of the way, says: "It was a fantastic trip meeting wondrous people all along the way. I would not have missed it for the world."

From Molly Klopot, our second oldest granny at 87: "It was very exhilarating and exciting and represented what I hope will become the beginning of a movement."

Here's a comment from Nydia Leaf: "I know we made connections on this trek that will grow in strength and numbers and that's what it was all about. We grannies keenly recognize the need to combine with others and resist those forces working against the good of this country, which is at a crossroads, and against the future of our planet, which is at an even more critical juncture."

One of our "baby grandmas," Ann Shirazi (only 61), has this to say: "The Granny trek demonstrated that a small group of ordinary people coming together with a common goal can make the extraordinary happen. The unstinting support and generosity of groups committed to challenging this ruthless regime gave us the opportunity to touch the lives of those who have felt helpless and shut off because of of this country's policies."


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