This year, the city of Auburn (which holds apparently the largest veterans day parade west of the Mississippi) had decided that even though they were going to allow a Corvette club and a daffodil festival float into the veterans day parade, they didn't want Veterans For Peace marching, because that would be in conflict with the purpose of the parade.
From the ACLU Washington website
, The Greater Seattle Chapter of Veterans For Peace has participated in the Auburn Veterans Day Parade since 2006. Yet the city denied the veterans group’s application to march in the 2012 parade, claiming that the city chose only those applicants which most closely meet the purpose and goals of the parade. At the same time, the city has approved applications from a motorcycle club, a Corvette club, the Optimists and Kiwanis International, the Sons of Italy, and a Daffodil Festival float.
The US District court ruled in favor of the VFP, and today I went down to march with the group. This necessitated getting up way early, despite having barely been able to close my eyes last night. I'm hoping to actually sleep tonight to maybe make up for some of it.
The Seattle Times
reported on our participation. I saw reporters from KING 5 and KIRO 7 (I talked to the KIRO people while we were marching), and was told that Q13 was also there covering our participation. KING 5 has a short segment up on their website from this evening's broadcast
. I can be seen in the first few seconds of film and the two photos in the gallery, off at the far right of the column, just behind the peace flags, carrying a VFP flag. I haven't seen the KIRO broadcast yet, so I don't know if any of the interview with me was used.
Our reception was almost entirely very positive. There were a couple of people who booed when we went by, but we were thanked for coming by quite a few people along the route. At one point, four guys who were standing next to some Civil War reenactors turned their backs to us, but I didn't see that as being any big deal.
The reporter asked me if I was bothered by that and I said not particularly. She asked what I thought about it and I said, well, it's their right. And, of course, that's exactly what we were doing in the parade today - expressing our first amendment rights and offering a challenge to the extreme militarization of American society. Four guys turning their backs on us along a parade route isn't even a pimple on the backside of the flotilla of grey whales that comprise "things in this world that disturb me." Nobody was violent, nobody was shouting slurs, nobody was trying to prevent us from walking along the street like every other group. I don't see what the harm could possibly be, and my feelings just aren't that delicate, thank you.
There were maybe about 40 of us in the VFP contingent. I had some lovely conversations with people both before and after the parade. We stood around for about an hour at the staging area, then marched a mile or mile and a half down the parade route, which I then had to walk back to the car. We all met up at a BBQ place for lunch afterwards but, with all the closed off roads in Auburn, finding it was kind of like running a maze. Thankfully, both a little paper map and my phone's map app allowed me to get there in a reasonable amount of time. I think there were about 34 or so of us at the restaurant.
I talked with several people about my trip to Europe this summer, as they were planning their own trips to various places for next year at different points. It was nice to be able to share some of my experiences so that they would find it a little easier to do the traveling themselves, a little less expensively.
I'd hoped that I could go dancing with gra_is_stor
this evening when I got home, but I didn't even get here until around 4:30, and by that time I'd started a headache (I think the barbeque sauce had something in it that triggered one), and within an hour or so, the idea of trying to move my legs much was a bit beyond me for the rest of the night. She didn't actually end up going tonight either, not feeling very well, but we'll try to get together tomorrow evening for some fireside snuggling after I get back from the veterans day dinner I'm going to with some of the women I've met at the VA in my group.
Overall, a pretty good day. If I find a clip from KIRO tomorrow, I'll post a link to that, too, whether or not I make an appearance in it.