OCTOBER 25,2003

(click on thumbnails to see photos in a larger format)

Friday, October 24, 2003

After checking in at the hotel, my friend Pat Kolon and I walk/scoot over to visit Concepcion (Conchita) at Lafayette Park in front of the White House. She has been there on a 24 hour-a-day, 7 days-a-week Vigil For Peace since 1981. Whenever I come to Washington, DC to visit family or to attend a demonstration, I always visit and vigil with Concepcion, my shero.


Saturday, October 25, 2003

I arrive at the Washington Monument at 9 AM, two hours before the rally is scheduled to begin. At 10 AM, the Raging Grannies meet on the corner of 17th St. & Constitution Ave. to rehearse before singing on the main stage at the rally. Within an hour there are Grannies from seven cities--Rochester, New York, Northampton, Massachusetts, New York City, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Boston, Massachusetts, Concord County, Pennsylvania, and Detroit, Michigan. At 11:10 AM, we check in backstage for our 11:30 AM (estimated) appearance on stage. We work out a plan with the stage crew as to how to get me--a scooter riding Granny--up ten steep stairs to the stage. It is decided that two strong fellows will carry me up and down the stairs in a folding chair. I hope it doesn't fold at the wrong time!

Before we Raging Grannies go backstage, I give Pat Kolon my camera so she can take pictures of us when we perform. It is exciting to be backstage, even though it is simply a roped off area on the grass. But we Grannies can now see and hear the speakers in a more intimate way. Finally the time comes for us to go onstage. My two helpers look strong, but one has his arm wrapped with gauze, making me wonder. My ride up the stairs is a true adventure, but with the Grannies smiles to bolster my confidence, I enjoy the ride...and don't even panic when the fellow with the injured arm slips a little as we reach the stage level. I am onstage before the other Grannies so have plenty of time to look around at the crowd. It is truly awesome! I pick out a Detroit friend--Abayomi--in the front row of the "audience", and feel right at home. When it is our time to sing, my two helpers pick up my chair and place me downstage left. The Grannies gather round Granny Vicki at the podium, and the sound techs place three microphones in front of us. What can I say about how it feels to be surrounded by thousands of smiling people, hearing their peals of laughter and cheers, and feeling their total acceptance and love??? Even though the ride down those steep stairs is scarier than going up--I can't even see the ground--I fairly float in ecstacy! After we get offstage, Pat takes more pictures of the rally. The pictures that touch me most deeply are of the families of our troops who are against the occupation of Iraq and want their loved ones home NOW! While the rally continues--about two more hours--we Raging Grannies are media magnets. And not just the media. We are surrounded by young and old alike who take pictures and tell us how much our particular brand of activism means to them. I guess the combination of seeing older women dressed up in outrageous hats, aprons and shawls, and hearing them sing familiar tunes with lyrics that knock your political socks off, captures people's fancy...especially young activists who might feel misunderstood by their own parents and grandparents. On this day we are EVERYONE'S grannies! So we Raging Grannies sit on the lawn outside the backstage area, giving interviews to journalists from across the globe, having our pictures taken by every form of camera imaginable, enjoying significant conversations with other activists, and sharing Grannies' stuff among ourselves. At about 2 PM we assemble under the Rochester, NY Grannies' banner and start walk/scooting toward the corner of 15th St. & Pennsylvania where we plan to stand and sing to the marchers as they go by. A German TV film crew stays with us most of the day.

Click here to go to DC Peace Rally Photo Album #2 and see pictures of the march

photos by Patricia Lay-Dorsey, Pat Kolon & friends

Raging Grannies Journal
Windchime Walker's journal
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