1967 - Peace Torch Marathon leaves San Francisco bound for Washington D.C. and the demonstration "to end the War in Vietnam"
On August 27, 1967, the "Peace Torch" was blessed in Grace Cathedral just before it began its 3500 mile journey "on foot" to Washington D.C. The idea was that 3500 people would run or walk a mile carrying the torch until it would arrive on October 21, 1967, the day the National Mobilization Committee To End The War in Vietnam (the "Mobe") planned to have one million protesters march on the Pentagon.
Activist Jerry Rubin was the figurehead for the "Mobe," as it was termed. The rally in D.C. On October 21 was attended by 100,000 anti-Vietnam War demonstrators, the first major national protest against the Vietnam War. About 50,000 people did march on the Pentagon, and about 650 were arrested, including Norman Mailer, and dozens were hospitalized. Along with the signs, chants, and other hallmarks of an anti-war demonstration, activists Abbie Hoffman, Allen Ginsberg, Ed Sanders, and Jerry Rubin planned to "raise the Pentagon off its foundation and put an end to the war."
While the levitation attempt was mostly designed as political theater, the group purportedly met with officials from the General Services Administration and obtained permission to attempt a three-foot levitation (reduced dramatically from their original plan of 300 feet). The group also planned to use an airplane to drop a multitude of daisies on the Pentagon. They were foiled by the FBI at the airport, but the daisies played a part in creating one of the most iconic images of the late 1960s–that of a young protester placing a flower into the barrel of a National Guardsman’s rifle. By the end of the protest, the Pentagon remained firmly on its foundation.
While it would be nearly seven years until the end of fighting in Vietnam, the march on the Pentagon had a lasting impact on public discussions surrounding the war.
The torch is blessed in Grace Cathedral in San Francisco before it began its 3500 journey to Washington, D.C.
The first torch bearer, at the Golden Gate Bridge
The first torch runner was accompanied by another athlete (to catch the torch should it fall?)
Someone offered to use my camera to take a photograph of me holding the torch