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$1 By peterj On 2017-01-24 10:15:51 In Blogz

My Experience at the Women's March on Washington DC 2017

Now that I've had some sleep, I thought I'd give a better description of my experience at the Women's March on Washington. I left at about 6:15 a.m., and I knew I was in for a special day when I stopped at the South Mountain rest stop and the entire parking lot was full of tour buses. Women had commandeered the men's room, but only the stalls (lucky for me). Then I got to Shady Grove, by some miracle was able to get a parking space, and there was just a mass of people waiting to enter the tunnel to buy fare and get on a train. The metro workers were doing a great job of organizing the crowd. It was sort of a pre-rally there at the station. After a few hours, I was finally on a train. Occasionally the passengers would break out into various protest/patriotic songs on the ride. We were instructed not to transfer, but to walk from a red line station to the mall. I got off at Metro Center, and started walking south. It was clear that this was going to be a huge crowd. People were pouring out of every metro station. The main stage was next to the American Indian Museum, but the closest I could get was 7th street, between the Hirshhorn and Air and Space. They had a jumbotron there, and a phone number you could call to listen to the audio on your cell phone. by about 1:30, people were starting to get antsy because the march was already supposed to start by then. At about 1:45, word started to spread through the crowd that there was a problem with the permit because so many more people showed up than was expected and the main stage was stalling for time to get it worked out (I don't know if this was true or not, but that's what people said). At this point the crowd just sort of decided on its own that we were going to march regardless. People started shouting to go out onto the national mall, so that's what we did. At this point, I saw a cop standing on the roof of his squad car directing people where to walk (from what I saw the DC police, by the way, were amazing at this event--really great job). Once we got on the mall, we starting all marching south toward the Washington Monument. I've never seen so many people in one place at one time before. You can't get a feel for it from looking at pictures. It was just shoulder to shoulder, chest to back people, as far as you could see. A sea of people. It wasn't really one single unified march because there were just too many people to march as a single block, but the epicenter of the crowd was sort of shifting from the Capital to the White House. when we got to the Washington Monument, we all turned north toward the ellipse. Marching from Air and Space to the Ellipse took me from 1:45 to 4:30. A giant crowd gathered in front of the White House. From there, people started dispersing out into the streets. A bunch of people marched down the Inaugural parade route. I started making my way back to Metro Center. I happened to pass the Trump hotel, and people had left a giant pile of protest signs in front of it. When I got to Metro Center, there were way too many people trying to get in, so I decided to just follow the Red Line above ground on foot and look for a place to eat. I walked up Connecticut Avenue, and there were still tons of people out. Every restaurant wall filled to capacity, every metro station had a crowd around it waiting. Eventually by some stroke of luck I found a Subway that didn't have a line and with empty chairs, so I had a sub for dinner and sat and talked with a group of women who had by coincidence been to Berkeley Springs before. Then I kept walking. I finally got the the Woodley Park/Zoo metro station and there wasn't a crowd, so I was able to get a train there at about 7 p.m. The traffic on 270 was a crawl, so I eventually got off onto 355 and took that to Frederick. It was an amazing experience, and I'm so glad I went. I can only hope that it makes a difference.