To the Editor:
I had to go to the Women’s March in Washington, D.C.
I had to march with people I did not know, women, men, grandmothers and grandfathers, their children and grandchildren, and throughout the day, I formed a bond of unity and solidarity with those surrounding me. I listened to what people were saying. I saw their passion, and I heard their commitment to continuing on beyond the march. I was not alone. I joined others to let the elected officials know we will not remain silent. There are too many issues and too many lives that will be affected if Donald Trump and his administration proceed on their intended paths. It was amazing to know that people around the world also gathered together, small groups, large groups, sending messages through the spoken word, through the songs being sung and through the signs they carried.
I flew to D.C. on Thursday, the plane filled with women who were participating. I stayed with an old friend who has a condo right on the Potomac River, overlooking the many memorials. I watched the inauguration, watched as Hillary made her way to her seat with her husband by her side, head held high, smiling as best she could. My heart went out to her. How difficult it must have been.
I heard Donald Trump give his inaugural address and worried about our future as a country. I saw on TV President Obama and Michelle wave good-bye as they boarded the helicopter from the Capital steps. I looked across the Potomac and watched as the helicopter carrying them flew along the river, to Andrews Air Force Base. I wondered as they departed what the future would bring for all of us.
Friday evening, we went to dinner and were seated next to a family. Women entered the restaurant wearing the pink hats symbolic of the Women’s March, and the people clapped. Midway through dinner, a member of the family sitting next to us opened up a large paper bag filled with beautifully made pink hats and began handing them out. Everyone cheered. It was a moment of togetherness. Since I did not have one, I said “yes” when a hat was offered to me. I wore it proudly the next day.
Saturday morning, dressed in my pink hat and a blaze orange vest (the color chosen by the Maine state march organizers), I walked with friends to the Metro station a couple of blocks away. I was speechless. There was a steady stream of women in their pink hats coming from all directions and yet heading in the same direction – to the march. The Metro station at Roselyn was jammed with people; one could barely get down the escalator to get to the Metro cars. Once on the platform, we discovered cars were not stopping, as they were filled to capacity, unable to handle any more people. We finally were able to board a train. All of us in the car were smiling, all were polite, and all were helpful to each other in any way possible. It felt good. It was energizing.
We exited at the Smithsonian station and made our way down Independence Avenue. It was literally a sea of walkers, wearing pink hats, carrying signs expressing what they wanted to express. And people kept coming and coming and coming.
I stayed for five hours listening to the dynamic speakers, dancing and singing to the music and talking with people surrounding me. I stayed in the moment, absorbing it all. It was monumental. It was breathtaking. It was inspiring. I’m glad I went. I am optimistic about our future.