Walter Reed Vigil Report No. 8
War Day 1,219
It was reported by some vigilers early in the evening that someone purporting to be related to a wounded soldier wanted us to go away. Of course, people are entitled to their opinion and many still do not understand the purpose or the need for a presence in front of Walter Reed Medical Center. What I saw and heard during the two hours of the vigil were a number of soldiers passing in and out of Walter Reed who made it clear that they understood why we are here, that they appreciated our efforts and want them to continue. The drivers of the "white buses" (there were two of them this evening) still honk a greeting to us. Passing pedestrians made clear their support for the troops to come home right away. Plenty of drivers passing up and down Georgia Avenue honked their horns in support, as they always do. We even had our one DC patrol car flash its sirens as it went by. A young man returning from picking up a pizza donated an extra pizza he bought for us. These warm responses far outweigh the hateful ravings of others.
There were a dozen of us out there, old hands and older hands returning after a long time away. We were awfully soaked by the end of the evening but our spirits were not dampened. We still sang. Perry and Ellen worked hard on the words of a new song.
Lessons learned on this vigil night:
We are very strong. Our vigil is simple but our message is clear. Everyone does not have to agree with us. We are actively exercising our duty to speak out. We will not let the war and the soldiers fighting it be forgotten.
One last word: I am well aware that the Walter Reed Vigil is a CODEPINK event. It's a terrific idea and clearly by the numbers of people who have participated over the last eight or nine months, it is a project that has touched many hearts. It is also quite a test. To be out there requires a combination of openness and restraint that takes a great deal of strength and discipline. Only some of the participants are members of CODEPINK. Others come from other groups or are "independents". But we are all vigilers.
I have been writing these reports because I think it is important to try and record some of the details of the vigil as they happen. The descriptions and thoughts are all my own and do not represent the viewpoint of anyone else. Anyone and everyone are welcome and invited to disagree with these reports wholly or in part.