Marilyn Blackelk stepped out on the front porch of her small, weathered house in North Denver when she saw a massive anti-war march plodding down Brighton Boulevard. Over 200 cops, 50 police vehicles, a helicopter and a gigantic crowd control tank known as the “BEAR” had the procession of mostly young people surrounded as it moved toward the city in the blazing sun.
“I thought, if they’re marching, they must be hot,” Blackelk says.
Dressed in military uniform, the Iraq Veterans Against the War led the march, followed by 3,000 to 4,000 supporters, most of whom had just exited yesterday’s Rage Against the Machine concert at the Denver Coliseum around 2:30pm. An hour and a half later, the march had only made it about a mile – with three more to go to the Pepsi Center where delegates were arriving for the DNC.
Marilyn, who lives in one of the few homes along the industrial strip, decided to turn on her garden hose and offer to spray down anyone who might be hot. She had no idea how hot they were. In droves, marchers ran across the street for a quick spray in the face or to fill water bottles.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you!” a twentysomething female yelled as the hose was turned on her. “Now we can march.”
“I want to marry you!” said another demonstrator getting some water in his hair before running to return to his spot in the march.”
Eventually, a motorcycle cop, annoyed at the disruption the hosing was causing to the order and containment police had established around the march, sped up and ordered Blackelk back into her yard. “Ma’am, put the hose away now!” he said.
But more marchers continued splitting from the march, pleading for a quick spray. So Blackelk obliged, earning more scorn from police. After the passing of the end of the march, she explained that she has three military-age sons, one of whom recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq.
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“I was so worried about him the whole time he was over there,” she says. “None of our boys belong over there. They should be here.” Blackelk began wrapping up her hose in her yard. “All of them, the marchers, they’re walking all the way to the city and that’s a long way in this heat. They just looked hot. They needed water.” – Jared Jacang Maher.