Gulfport, Miss., Bus Brings Protesters to D.C.

Debbie Elliott speaks with anti-war activists who traveled to Washington for Saturday's protest from Gulfport, Miss., carrying demonstrators from across the South.

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DEBBIE ELLIOTT, host:

Tens of thousands of people gathered in the nation's capital today in opposition to the Iraq War. The demonstration on the National Mall was the highlight of a weekend of anti-war activities. The protesters cheered Cindy Sheehan, the mother who launched an anti-war campaign after her son was killed in Iraq. Among the demonstrators was a group that arrived on a bus from hurricane-ravaged Gulfport, Mississippi. The bus was packed with demonstrators from across the South.

Unidentified Man: Here we go, off the bus.

ELLIOTT: A charter bus from hurricane-ravaged Gulfport, Mississippi, arrived in downtown Washington, DC, this morning. It was packed with anti-war protesters from across the South.

Unidentified Man: Anybody who brought a sign, come pick it out.

ELLIOTT: Regina Baker(ph) of Henagar, Alabama, pulled her sign out from the bus' luggage compartment.

(Soundbite of door closing)

ELLIOTT: Will you tell me what it says?

Ms. REGINA BAKER: It says, `Make Levees, Not War.' And I think we're spending too much money on war. We need to be spending money on things here at home: education, health and levees. I'm a grandma and I'm trying to make the world a better place for my grandchildren and I'm really, really worried. I don't think we're going in the right direction. And you can't get the politicians to listen. They don't listen to us.

ELLIOTT: Baker got on the bus yesterday afternoon in Birmingham. She's one of 33 people who made the all-night journey to join today's peace march. Glen Sanberg(ph) of Gulfport organized the trip, his fourth march on Washington.

Mr. GLEN SANBERG: The first one, I heard about it on the Internet and I looked for a ride and hitched and it was so inspiring that I became the ride coordinator for that area and...

ELLIOTT: Was it a little harder to coordinate this time?

Mr. SANBERG: Well, it was and the Gulf Coast population really has other obligations right at this moment, and many of them weren't able to come. But we ran the bus anyway because we were serving, I guess, four or five different states.

ELLIOTT: But one other couple from the Mississippi coast did make the trip.

Mrs. ELIZABETH WALDORF(ph): I'm Elizabeth Waldorf and this is...

Mr. DAVID WALDORF(ph): David.

Mrs. WALDORF: ...my husband, David Waldorf.

ELLIOTT: Where are you from?

Mr. WALDORF: Biloxi, Mississippi.

ELLIOTT: How's your house?

Mrs. WALDORF: Amazingly our house is OK.

Mr. WALDORF: Minor damage.

Mrs. WALDORF: One tree got too friendly and moved in, but except for that, we're in very good shape.

Mr. WALDORF: We're...

ELLIOTT: Was it hard to decide to come on along this march with all the chaos going on at home, trying to rebuild and recover from the storm?

Mrs. WALDORF: Not at all. This is a real priority, OK? Our country's got to be headed in the right direction. It's not. We need to really focus on environmental concerns. I think if you had any doubts about global warming, the two women called Katrina and Rita were convincing. If you see devastation from one edge of Mississippi to the other, 70 miles of devastation, it gets to you. It gets to you.

Mr. WALDORF: To say our lives have changed forever, our being all of the country and in ways that I didn't even know. I don't understand. The coast is not really inhabitable. With these storms, they're going to come again and again just as Rita is pounding the hell out of Texas and Louisiana. OK. We cannot afford the luxury of continuous warfare.

ELLIOTT: David and Elizabeth Waldorf from Biloxi, Mississippi. We also heard from Regina Baker of Henagar, Alabama, and Glen Sanberg of Gulfport, Mississippi, who organized the bus trip.

Mr. WALDORF: Meet the bus at the metro station. It will be 9:00 local Eastern time, 8:00 Central time...

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