Organizers said they are expecting thousands of participants for the rally on the National Mall, including about 100 from Newtown and buses from New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia. Others are flying in from Seattle, San Francisco and even Alaska. They will gather Saturday at the Capitol Reflecting Pool at 10 a.m. and will begin marching down Constitution Avenue toward the Washington Monument at 11 a.m. A rally is planned on the monument grounds at noon.
Molly Smith, the artistic director of Washington’s Arena Stage, and her partner organized the march, inspired by the Connecticut massacre that killed 20 first graders and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School, she said. The gunman also fatally shot his mother and committed suicide.
“With the drum roll, the consistency of the mass murders and the shock of it, it is always something that is moving and devastating to me. And then, it’s as if I move on,” Smith said. “And In this moment, I can’t move on. I can’t move on.
“I think it’s because it was children, babies,” she said. “I was horrified by it.”
Veterans hope registry answers concerns about health effects of burn pits in Iraq, Afghanistan
WASHINGTON (AP) — J.D. Williams didn’t think much about the smoke cloud that often shrouded his air base in Iraq. Not when it covered everything he owned with black soot or when his wheezing and coughing made it difficult to sleep at night.
“We just went about our business because there was a war going on,” said Williams, a retired chief warrant officer who was responsible for maintaining some 250 aircraft for the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division.
He returned home from that second stint in Iraq in 2006 and subsequently was diagnosed with an irreversible lung disease that his doctor suspects could be related to smoke from one of the hundreds of burn pits that dotted Iraq and Afghanistan during the course of the two wars. The pits were used to burn off the garbage that accumulates at military bases, everything from Styrofoam and metal to paints, solvents, human waste and medical waste.