Bob Hope and Art Linkletter proclaimed the week of November 9 one of national unity. It turned out to be a week of demonstrations, particularly in Washington, D. C., and San Francisco. The subject: a moral question, and not a new one—what to do about the war in Viet Nam. If there was some unity on the question, there was little on the answer.
One answer came on Veterans Day when some of President Nixon’s silent supporters spoke up. Largely in response to his TV appeal, 15,000 of them gathered at the Washington Monument to acclaim the President and his Vice-President and to disclaim the anti-war demonstrators coming later.
That was Tuesday. On Thursday, one of the first peace protests was held at the Pentagon.
Shortly after noon, the Rev. Ian Mitchell and his wife began singing folk songs; when a Catholic priest prayed for the U. S. military complex, an onlooker hissed. Episcopal cleric and author Malcolm Boyd had just begun his sermon when a government official called the gathering an “unauthorized demonstration” and asked the group to leave.
Father Boyd continued: “The time has come when the religious community must respond, however painfully, to Spiro Agnew.” He was interrupted by applause greeting the arrival of police to arrest 186 clergymen, seminarians, and lay people.
Thursday evening 46,000 people—mostly young—began a forty-hour March Against Death. Carrying placards with the names of U. S. servicemen killed in Viet Nam, they walked four miles from Arlington Cemetery to the Capitol, where they dropped their placards in a dozen coffins.
On Friday, Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Viet Nam sponsored a service at the Episcopal National Cathedral. Several thousand filled the ...1
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