are here to let you know that you are not alone.” “Let us remember there
is no moral equivalent between the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority.”
The voices rang out from the podium in front of the U.S. Capitol where American
and Israeli flags waved side by side. The speakers were impressive and so
was the crowd. From all over America, we came to Washington, part of an endless
stream of Americans showing support for Israel and for the U.S. war on terrorism.
Shoulder to shoulder we stood proudly,
girls in tank tops and shorts near men with black hats and dark suits, young
families, elderly men and women walking with canes, people in wheelchairs,
and little children sitting in strollers, thousands of college students and
countless day school students in their uniforms. Well after the rally began,
organizers were announcing that thousands of people were still arriving and
that all the buses had not even arrived in Washington yet.
We bumped into a friend who had traveled
on a 7-hour bus ride with his daughter’s 6th grade class. Like so many others,
the bus had arrived late, the parking lot was full, the bus couldn’t park,
the metro was inaccessible, and the group had to walk 19 blocks to the Capitol.
“It was absolutely terrific — there must have been a few thousand people
in the streets, all holding signs and singing. It was such a feeling of strength
and togetherness.” I asked him if he minded that he arrived too late to hear
any of the speeches and basically was going to be getting right back on the
bus. “No,” he replied, “it was more meaningful for my daughter to walk down
the streets with this enormous group than for her to have heard the speeches.
It’s an experience she won’t forget.”
Text by D. Rosenbloom. Photo courtesy
of Edward Goldman.