1967 — The Peace Torch leaves San Francisco, bound for the Washington D.C. demonstration"to end the war in Vietnam"

On August 27, 1967, the "Peace Torch" was blessed in Grace Cathedral just before it began its 3,500-mile journey to Washington DC..  The idea was that 3,500 people would run or walk a mile each, carrying the torch until it would arrive on October 21, 1967, the day the National Mobilization Committee To End The War in Vietnam 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 DC. On October 21 was attended by 100,000 anti-Vietnam War demonstrators, the second major national protest against the Vietnam War. following on the heels of the successful October 15, 1965 Vietnam Day demonstrations..  About 50,000 people marched on the Pentagon on October 21,1967, and about 650 were arrested and dozens were hospitalized.  Along with the signs, chants, and other typical hallmarks of an anti-war demonstration, activists Abbie Hoffman, Allen Ginsberg, Ed Sanders, and Jerry Rubin announced that they planned  to "raise the Pentagon off its foundation and put an end to the war." 

 

While the levitation attempt seemed to be 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 the 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 still played an important part in the protest, creating one of the most iconic images of the late 1960s–-that of a young woman protester placing a flower into the barrel of a National Guardsman’s rifle.  At 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 dramatic October 21 march on the Pentagon had a lasting impact on the public's imagination and support for the righteousness of resistance to the war.

The torch is blessed in Grace Cathedral in San Francisco before it begins its 3500 journey to Washington, D.C.

The first torch runner was accompanied by another athlete, there to catch the torch should it fall.

The first torch bearer, at the Golden Gate Bridge 

Someone offered to use my camera to take a photograph of me holding the torch, a beautifully crafted symbol of resistance to the war in Vietnam.