Some tiny creature, mad with wrath,

Is coming nearer on the path.

--Edward Gorey

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Outlying Islands

Writer, lawyer, cyclist, rock climber, wanderer of dark residential streets, friend.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Not Free to Join the "Freedom" March

Perhaps it was the event of the first Sunday of NFL regular season action, or perhaps it was the fact that quite a few people are busy collecting corpses from the streets of one of the United States' most singular city, but maybe it was because the Bush didn't want you to watch that coverage of the so-called Freedom March was so limited.

Organizers of the Pentagon's 9/11 memorial Freedom Walk on Sunday are taking extraordinary measures to control participation in the march and concert, with the route fenced off and lined with police and the event closed to anyone who does not register online by 4:30 p.m. today.

The march, sponsored by the Department of Defense, will wend its way from the Pentagon to the Mall along a route that has not been specified but will be lined with four-foot-high snow fencing to keep it closed and "sterile," said Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense.

* * *

The parade route will be lined with snow fencing, allowing only those who preregistered to participate.

The U.S. Park Police will have its entire Washington force of several hundred on duty and along the route, on foot, horseback and motorcycles and monitoring from above by helicopter. Officers are prepared to arrest anyone who joins the march or concert without a credential and refuses to leave, said Park Police Chief Dwight E. Pettiford.

The event, the America Supports You Freedom Walk, is billed as a memorial to victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks and a show of support for those serving in the military, topped off with a concert by country singer Clint Black, known for his pro-troops anthem, "Iraq and Roll." Organizers said they expect 3,000 to 10,000 participants.

* * *

What's unusual for an event on the Mall is the combination of fences, required preregistration and the threat of arrest.

Park Police officials said security and safety were concerns, especially because Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld will participate in some of the day's events. They said they have approved a permit for a small group of protesters that plans to stand along Independence Avenue.

And in related news, it's pretty sad when the best way the SecDef can show his support for the troops is to participate in a government-sponsored propaganda rally / jingoistic country music concert. Of course, it's a hell of a lot cheaper than properly equipping our troops and much less time-consuming than personally signing the nearly 2,000 (and still more are coming) letters of condolence that issue from his office.

But then, as Clint Black almost certainly sang on the Mall yesterday, "There's no price too high for freedom / so be careful where you tread."

Amen, brother.

(Hat tip.)


Anonymous binky said...

The Rev. Mykeru attended the walk, and has some footage (in which he is looking very Henry Rollins) of trying to recruit men to enlist in the military. I imagine it worked for him not least because he is a well, really fit dude who looks like Rollins and could "pass" as one of the faithful.

9:01 AM  

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