After the [September 15th] march, I was coming out of the porta-potties and wanted to sit in the shade because I was tuckered out. I saw Carlos walking slowly by, pulling his memorial to his son Alexander, which consists of a flag-draped coffin, Alexander’s boots, and a large photo of Alexander. He was holding a flagpole with a U.S. flag flying upside-down, which I took to be a symbol of distress.
Carlos saw me and waved; I waved back or flashed him a peace sign.
What happened next happened so fast it was surreal. I hadn’t realized that there was a counterprotest by the so-called Gathering of Eagles, a pro-war group that travels to counterprotest wherever anti-war activists gather.
Suddenly one of them rushed forward and snatched the portrait of Carlos’ son off the memorial. He then ran back to the safety of his mob group and tore Alexander’s photo to pieces. Quick as a wink, Carlos took off after that man and tried to get the photo back. Several members of the Gathering of Eagles then assaulted him en masse, beating and kicking him. It was a brutal attack.
A crowd had gathered around; I called Terri from NC who was resting at the lower end of the Capitol lawn and told her there was a fight, but I don’t think she realized where I was calling from and thought I was referring to the die-in arrests taking place further up the hill. She urged me to get away from the fight and join her on the lawn.
Before I left, I saw the Capitol Police arrive, including a female police officer on a bicycle. I looked up, and on the fringes of the crowd, I saw two tall, handsome men who were perched above somehow and were videotaping the whole scene. I hope they’ll come forward to give their videotapes to Carlos or to the police.
Knowing the circumstances of the death of Carlos’ son, I naturally started to cry and I turned and left for the safety of the lawn. I heard a man scream at Carlos, “That’s not your son—that’s an empty casket!” (What an idiot….) I also recall that as the crowd was beating Carlos, a young man with yellow, spiky hair was screaming, “They tore up his son’s photo! They tore up his son’s photo!”
Posted by Anne from North Carolina