It could be also disconcerting to have so many people, including officers of the court, to recognize you. Yet today I met people who shared their stories and connected with me on the great and honorable work of ending war.
One such officer tells me proudly, even though he faced and was committed to ending racism, he protested the Viet Nam War. Then he slumps and tells me how 8 years ago his daughters asked for BART fare to go to the city to protest the then threatened war. He gave his daughters the fare but didn't go himself.
He gazes over my head to the fluorescent lights, remembering. He speaks of how the shock of 9/11 cursed through him and became the belief he gratefully embraces that this war too will end in a couple of days.
To this very day - he jabs the cooled air emphatically - to this very day he regrets not going, back then in the beginning. The sad possibility, he feels, that perhaps if he and the many more millions of other Americans who stayed out of the streets that day, would have followed the lead of his daughters and stepped out into the streets way back then in the beginning, with Barbara Lee, then the probability is that we would not be where we are today.
We are both sad with this knowledge.
Another man proudly announces to me that he is a c.o., conscientious objector. His eyes spark, his fire-lit bitter-sweet dark chocolate cheeks glow as he recalls being in snow-laden Wisconsin burning his draft card way back when, '62, '63, or was it '64?
Then he clarifies his c.o. status. He applied and was denied. He was now a student at Yale. The military told him he had to go the next day to Fort something (I forget which Fort and where) in South Carolina maybe. He told the officer he wasn't going and then next thing he knows they're labeling him "crazy" and not fit for the military!
When I leave the building, I overhear one of the security guards telling a group of guards that I'm a war protestor. And I smile proudly.