An apt description of what I witnessed as I first walked several miles in chilly Minnesota weather to participate in the national March For Our Lives demonstration to end gun violence. It was one of the 800 worldwide marches planned and organized by a student-led movement that emerged after the mass shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month in Florida. Four of their students, among our local speakers, spoke in anguished and defiant voices. These original Parkland students were strategically placed as speakers in cities across the nation. Our St. Paul crowd was estimated at about 18,000.
I felt exhilarated running as I darted in and out of the throng. It made me feel like a kid again. I was surprised at how fast I was running. My too many years of sedentary living had turned me into a reluctant walker. This group of young people and the other teens had obviously inspired me as well. But I noticed many older folks and families in the crowd. As I began my trek up the boulevard, I noticed an older woman attempting to put her wheelchair in the trunk of her car so I asked her if she needed help. She thanked me for the offer but said Her husband had made it possible for her to get her wheelchair in and out of the car alone — then asked me if I would like a ride. Looking at the upward slant of the hill and unsure where I had left my car, I graciously accepted her offer. It was fortunate because I was on the wrong hill. In fact, I lived not far from her and we smiled happily at one another when we parted.
It was several weeks later that I missed a delightful luncheon celebrating the 103rd birthday of Carol Robertson, a friend of one of my dearest friends. A huge head cold kept me home but I heard that not only was Carol continuing to enjoy her daily walks in Lowertown where she lived, but she, too, had been at two of the recent protest marches inspired by the Douglas High School students.
An analysis of crowd attenders revealed that approximately 27% had never protested before, 70% were women and mostly democrats. 45% middle-aged and 70% millennials. About 18% were believed to be under 18. Interesting.