the Pentagon March (1967)
Michael Garrison sent this account of his participation
in the Pentagon March
after seeing the photos on this website.
Jo, for your remembrance of the historical March on the Pentagon. I will
add a few comments to your excellent sketch of the events. As the March
got underway toward the Pentagon we encountered a new fence which prevented
the March from going toward the front entrance and the General's parking
lot and funneled the protestors to the rear (service) entrance. Subtle
enough but picture the Brass deciding, "Well, if we have to put
up with them, lets let them protest where the garbage gets picked up." I
know the fence was new because when we looked the situation over a week
earlier it was not there.
we just got about a hundred people to rock that six foot tall chain link
fence until the poles bent like twigs
and we laid that fence down! It amazed me what human power could do.
Kind of like the story of the Wobblies shaking the jails apart from the
inside. We redirected the March across the lawn toward the front entrance.
Our mistake was not leaving a group behind to maintain the breach. Some "parade
marshals" plugged the hole and the bulk of the crowd missed the
opportunity to assault the front entrance.
"After all", they
claimed, "our permit was for the north lot." "Sure",
we said, "but we want to shut down the Pentagon, not its garbage."
of the protestors heard of our efforts at the entrance and came around
to the raised parking lot to stay the night. By than most of the "leaders" were
in jail or Washington Hotels and we didn't know how long the permit was
for but we weren't going to give up our position without a fight. Thus
the "Armies of the Night" fought the 82nd Airborne for possession
of the entrance to the Pentagon.
The attack by the "Wedge" of black suited soldiers, the "egging
of the Generals", the defection of soldiers to the crowd...movie
version to be released soon.
Indeed, at dawn the group I was with was split off from the main body
of protestors and we decided ala guerilla fighters to take the fight
elsewhere and headed off to the White House which we found unguarded
in the early dawn hour.
As we stood at the gate we debated climbing over
the wrought iron fence and sprinting across the lawn to "wake up" LBJ
since our chants of "HEY HEY LBJ, HOW MANY KIDS WILL YOU KILL TODAY" didn't
seem to be getting any attention.
" We can't do that, they will shoot
us down and claim they couldn't be sure we weren't like the Puerto Ricans
who were armed" someone said. "Well than", my brilliant
mind working..."lets strip down and run up the lawn to the porch
and they can't claim we were armed if they shoot us."
As we debated
this unique idea and some of us managed to get our shirts off, we heard
a roar of motors and up rushed about 30 Washington DC motorcycle cops
who jumped off their bikes and proceeded to kick the hell out of us,
clubbing us away from the gate. I didn't see anybody picking any flowers,
just running for their lives! The ones knocked out or down could have
been charged with picking flowers or whatever the police wanted to charge
them with. Well, that's how my weekend in DC ended. Sometimes when I
think about that weekend it has another ending....