Helicopters and Protests – March 19, 2003

Helicopters are circling overhead. Their low-pitched drone intrudes into my bedroom, hums underneath the flow of water from the bathroom tap. Their lights are red against the dark blue sky. They will not go away. Every few minutes, I hear police sirens.

I turn on the TV. We are at war. The city is under heightened alert, and the mayor is saying there are military helicopters doing training exercises. Perhaps that is why the three ‘copters are circling the Federal Building in the distance, over and over again. But the news anchors keep talking, and I find out there is a protest. It is 10:30, but there are more people there now than earlier today. Fifty people have been arrested, and the police chief has arrived and launched an investigation into police brutality claims. Already. I drove past the protesters on the way home this afternoon. They didn’t look violent.

A few kids, college students probably, are sneaking through the park. The gates of the lot must have closed, because they are driving their cars through the park and over the curb to get back onto the street. I can hear distant laughter. I wonder if they are feeling an adrenaline surge at the knowing that they have been part of history. We are all part of history now. It doesn’t feel good.

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