“Broken Promises to the Military” *
It was a long and hard trip [to D.C.] for everybody, especially in view of the advanced age. We had 50 in our private Amtrak car going up. We arrived at Union Station at 0600 in the morning.
The weather in Washington was dry but very cold and windy. The marchers started in two groups, one from Union Station (after a pep rally from Representative Jeff Miller (FL), Bud Day and other notables and one from the ROA Building (again after a pep rally, with the addition of Senator McCain). Both groups merged on their way to the Supreme Court. All marchers carried signs- Red on one side, reading "America's Warriors Were Promised Health Care - WHEN WILL AMERICA KEEP ITS PROMISE??," and Blue on the other, "AMERICA'S WARRIORS KEPT THEIR PROMISE - When Will Uncle Sam? "
Notable in the march was the Flag bearer in front- a very senior Navy Chief Petty Officer in formal-dress blues, who insisted on carrying the flag by himself, even though he walked with a cane. (He went the full distance of about 1½ miles). We were accompanied by a specially constructed Hearse with loud speaker. At the Supreme Court, while the marchers were held at bay at the bottom off the steps, a casket was withdrawn from the hearse to the accompaniment of a plaintive taps, and carried to the foot of the steps. After about an hour at the Supreme Court, with sporadic choruses of "Keep your Promise," the marchers continued past the legislative office buildings to the rear of the Capitol. Again a small ceremony, after which the march broke up at about 2PM. Many of the marchers then proceeded to visit the offices of their voted representatives.
Most conspicuous by their absence was the National media, neither TV nor Press representatives were visible. When one considers that one of the primary purposes of this campaign was to publicize the plight of the Veterans, the lack of coverage was a great disappointment to at least some of the marchers. Instead the TV airways were covered with stories of "Use of Duct Tape in the event of an emergency attack". The Florida CAG group returned by train, leaving Washington at 11 PM the same day they arrived. Such dedication!! For such little recognition!!
* Flying Midshipmen LOG, summer 2003; © 2003.