The morning began with a brief speaking and media interview session. David opened the prepared remarks part by giving us an overview of the route, explaining that we were going to march 15 miles, stopping to talk to the media three times, and once to have lunch.

Fernando explained that his team had started marching in Tijuana, Mexico, and they had been marching fifteen miles a day ever since. They are marching to make a better world for the children, because what our government is doing in Iraq is not right. He spoke in Spanish, and the woman in the light green hat translated. He has a gentle and firm personality. It was impossible to doubt the sincerity of his mission.

  

Cesar Chavez and Gandhi were among the four icons of the march. Somebody told me later that we were recreating Gandhi's "salt march", an event that was key to the peaceful throwing out of the English occupation of India. The other two were Fernando's son Jesus and the Virgin of Guadalupe.

   



  

Pablo spoke about what a load of road apples (not his exact words) the Army Recruiters dump on the poor innocents that get near them. The implication that anybody dumb enough to listen to them deserves to lose their life in Iraq, or wherever the high command decides to send people to get shot. The place was locked, so all we could do was use it as a backdrop for pictures like the above. Greening had some Calla Lilies that he decorated the place with before we left.

    

Christina was carrying a sign for her man's nephew. I think they also were there for the whole trip. Virginia joined the group in Los Angeles somewhere.

     

Marsha Feinland is running for U.S. Senator as the Peace and Freedom Party Candidate

Carol Brouillet is running for Congress in the 14th CD as a Green Party Candidate. Her trademark is the 9/11 bill, and she gave them out to everybody the march passed. I could tell if I was behind her or ahead of her by looking at the people hanging out on the streets. If they were looking at money in their hands with an interested look on their faces, I was behind her.



     

Jesus Alberto (Fernando's son) was the first Latino who died in the current Gulf War. That picture of him has been carried all along the march. I found out at the celebration where the march ended that the woman carrying him was the mother of another soldier that didn't make it back from Iraq. She had met Fernando on a Global Exchange trip there. The two of them were the soul of the march, although a lot of other people put lots of work into making it work out.

     

Every mile or so we would pass Catherine again. Her car was the most vocal one I have ever seen. We would hear the "HONK! HONK! HONK!" and then see her smiling face. Often the other cars around would take up the chorus once she got them going. Then she would hop out and distribute bottles of water and fresh fruit to keep us going.

  



 

The Super Taqueria was a great place to stop for lunch. Nobody behind the counter even blinked when something like 30 marchers joined the line to order food. They were set up to serve lots of people quickly, and the food was great. 

  

Dennis Kyne is running for City Council in San Jose's 3rd District. Coleville is up in Washington State. I think he likes the fact they made their shirts out of hemp. He was giving people copies of Addicted to War or decks of cards that feature the Bush Administration. Each card in the deck was a platform for another senior official. It would explain a lot about how that person had helped get the Iraq war started in a short paragraph with a mug shot. Talking to the guy, I found out he had spent fifteen years in the military. That included time as a combat medic, during which he had seen and done war crimes, something he is not proud of. He said the Military system makes people think that is the right thing to do. He is certainly doing what he can to widen awareness that we need lots of changes in our system.

Superwoman and Marissa were from Watsonville. They had really enjoyed the previous days march, when 800 people had marched with Fernando, partly for immigrants rights, but also for peace. Seeing Marissa smile is an experience I enjoyed a lot.





This is how I remember most of the march. Fernando leads us carrying the front end of the banner. The scenery changes constantly, but there is often something neat to look at going by. Everyone is in conversation, and it's great because so many of those present have interesting stories to tell.



          
 
     

I think there were also a number of other speakers, but I had to rescue my wheels from the place where the march began in Alum Rock. When I got back there was a feast on the table, partly Mediteranian food, partly Mexican food, with some Anglo snacks and drinks on the side.


** 3208 **

The next day the march continued up to San Francisco. That was a rainy day, so I didn't take my camera. I took the MEND YOUR FUELISH WAYS sign that I've taken to many, many marches since I made it during the buildup to the first Gulf War, back in 1990. It turned out to be that signs last march. As the day wore on the thing slowly disintegrated under the weight of the water falling from above. By mid afternoon it was no longer holding its shape. When they called on me to help carry the banner leading the march I decided the two of them were too much to carry at the same time. I ditched my trademark in a public trash can on Mission Street, somewhere between 22nd and Cesar Chavez. It wouldn't surprise me to find out I had carried it 241 miles during the time I owned it.

One thing I remember about that day was the stop we made at City Hall. Ross Mirkarimi, the highest elected official in the Green Party of California welcomed the March For Peace to San Francisco, giving our leaders a certificate of Honor for their contribution to the struggle. I was given a brief opportunity to say a few words, as was Todd Chretien. It was the second time the two of us had been on the same stage.

Another was the end of the thing, at a soup kitchen in the Mission district. After a round of Aztec dancing, the guy that lead the service said something like "what is remembered lives", and he gave the people who had gone the distance an opportunity to talk about it. Pablo shared a few anecdotes about how generous people had been supporting them in the southern part of the march. Fernando took the opportunity to thank all the people who had helped along the way, telling briefly the stories of their involvement. Among them were several people I don't have pictures of above, and a number that didn't show in San Jose. One woman got heat exhaustion in Watsonville, and had to skip a day. The support crew was doing other things which I wasn't aware of as a marcher. Camilo Mejia had been working on another march in the Louisiana and Alabama area, working to build a connection between what is going on in the Persian Gulf and what is going on in our Gulf States, especially New Orleans. Media Benjamin had inspired the whole thing by putting her life on the line to take a crew including Fernando to Iraq to learn about the facts on the ground. We ended it all by singing in a circle, each of us holding a tea candle that had been lit from the ceremonial alter candle, or one that had been lit off of it.

Click here to visit Tian's homepage.           Click here to visit Fernando's homepage.