As if college didn't keep them busy enough, two Buena Vista University students accomplished a whirlwind trip to Washington, D.C., to participate in the massive peace demonstration Sept. 24.
It was a marathon of a mission. Cate Logan and Carissa Stotts left Storm Lake by car Friday, Sept. 23, took part in the demonstration Sept. 24, and arrived back in Storm Lake Sunday, Sept. 25.
Logan, a Lakeside resident originally from Rock Springs, Wyo., and Stotts, from Johnston, left campus at 2 p.m. Friday. They arrived in Washington between 9 and 9:30 a.m., only minutes to spare before the rally started at 10. They heard speakers such as Jesse Jackson and Cindy Sheehan across from the Washington Monument then joined the march that Logan estimated at 750,000 people, stretching for 30 city blocks.
Compared to some of the antiwar demonstrations during Vietnam, there was little conflict.
"It was very, very peaceful until we got to where the pro-war people were," Logan said. It was just before they reached the White House that the marchers encountered about 100 people demonstrating in favor of the President's Iraq policies.
"It was just a shouting match," Logan said. "I didn't see any violence at all though." The marchers then returned to the Washington Monument for a concert.
"It was definitely worth the trip," Logan said. "I felt a little bit out of place. I felt like a hick from the country. Compared to some of the people that were there, I was looking pretty conservative."
Those demonstrating against the war in Iraq mostly agreed that a timed pullout is necessary rather than an immediate unilateral departure as advocated by antiwar demonstrators in the late 1960s.
"We realized that we can't pull out right away," Logan said. "They want to create a timeline to get out of there."
Logan also noticed a great range in ages of those taking part in the demonstration, all the way from infancy to some in walkers and wheelchairs. Logan recalls seeing a couple Marines in their dress blues protesting against the war. According to Logan's conversation with one Marine, "He hated it. He didn't agree with us being there. If we were going to be against terrorism, he said we needed to be in Afghanistan, not Iraq."
"It was fascinating. It was the biggest crowd I've ever been in," Logan said. "I don't know if I'd do it again. I would definitely go for peace but I don't know that I would go to anything that big. I definitely can understand how a riot could get started with one yahoo throwing a rock or something."
There could be a certain irony for Logan's going to the nation's capitol to participate in the peace demonstration. Wyoming prides itself for its patriotism, a close second to individualism which would undoubtedly be the most valued trait for Wyoming natives. Perhaps it's that individualism, though, that allows Logan to express her views, as controversial as they might seem to her family back home.
"It's definitely blue collar," Logan said. "It's a working state. That's what I grew up around. That's what I was used to."
"I'm for peace," Logan said. "The grandmothers should decide when we go to war. Because then we wouldn't have any war. I don't think we should be there in the first place."