Thursday, 4 November 2010

Most of Marchers Were Students

They Gathered; They Protested; They Spent Night in Central Park

April 17, 1967

NEW YORK, N.Y.--No matter how you looked at it, the students -- the high school and college students -- made up the hard core of peace marchers here on Saturday.

The students were the ones who illegally slept in Central Park the night before the march--the students were the ones who were most enthusiastic about the march, even though some of them had traveled hundreds of tiring miles in cars and buses.

Some of the student marchers were bearded and wore levis and sandals, others wore suits and ties. There were the "hippies" who seemed to be mostly of high school age. And there were the girls in mini skirts.

Students Carry Signs

Almost all of the students carried signs protesting the war in Vietnam, signs which read: "Like Eichmann, Like McNamara;" "Stop the Bombing and the Lies, Negotiate With NFL;" "Wipe Out Poverty, Not People."

And, all of the students seemed to have an opinion on the war. Lauranne Biribauer, an Ohio State coed, said she had hitch-hiked to the march. "I'm here to demonstrate and help to show other people that there are a lot of people involved in this peace march and the ideas for peace."

Kenneth Brossman from Ohio State said, "We're here to try to express our feelings about the war in Vietnam; to let the world know that many, many people in the United States are against the policy of the United States in Vietnam."

One coed from Roosevelt University in Chicago, Ann Taylor, said: "We're opposed to our boys over there fighting, dying. For what? We don't know. So we're here to get them out of there."

Others Demonstrate

Students did make up the hard core of the march, but there were also a goodly number of married couples, war veterans, matronly-looking ladies and housewives in the march.

Paul Green, wearing a Veterans for Peace in Vietnam cap, said, "As veterans we are the ones most concerned about bringing peace to the world and stopping the bombing of Vietnam." Green's words were echoed during the march by other veterans who chanted, "no more veterans."

One of the most colorful marchers was Mrs. Clara DeMehia, who was selling anti-war buttons. "I'm a grandmother and I have a grandson who is about to leave for Vietnam but he'd rather go to jail than go to Vietnam. I'm selling buttons because it behooves us to carry some symbol against the war."

Several times during the march the marchers were pelted with paint, eggs and flour by people in apartments along the march route. But other than that, and a few minor fist fights, the demonstrations was quite orderly.

Draft Cards Burn

Before the march started, about 12 marchers burned their draft cards in the march formation area. Others burned cards which were "symbolic" of their draft cards. The New York police did not arrest any of them.

Probably the most colorful and the most humble group of marchers were 30 Teton Sioux Indians from the Rosebud Reservation in Winner, S.D. One of the Sioux, Johnny Walking Crow, said, "I sure hope there will be peace in Vietnam because there's a lot of our Indian boys out there in the war and we'd sure like to have them back."

The marcher most commented about was undoubtedly the Marine veteran, in full dress blues, who carried the American flag at the head of the march. Most abuse from the march watchers was directed at him.

One man in the crowd said, "Death to that Marine. Shoot that Marine. Death, death to the Marine. He's a traitor, a traitor to the country."

Through the entire march, the Marine carried the flag at the head of the parade, never missing a step and never once looking at the marchers. His eyes were directed to the American flag which he proudly carried.

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