Amid chants, placards and speeches denouncing George W. Bush's inauguration to a second tem last week, two young demonstrators from William J. Palmer High School joined at least 100 Bush-bashers in Acacia Park last Thursday.
"I'm against Bush because I'm against war," said Jasmin Myles, 14 pictured above at left, joined by Sara Pennock, 15, on their lunch break.
"I can get in pretty big confrontations about [Bush]," Myles said, referring to her debates with classmates. "If [he] gets brought up, it doesn't end for a whole week."
Pennock agreed, adding that "my history teacher is for Bush and I don't want to get into an argument about it. I know I should speak my mind, but I'm afraid to do it." Other classmates criticize Bush in class, but she's usually too shy. Demonstrating in the park, Pennock said, is a good way to get her point across.
Sunlight bathed the multicolored signs and a festive mood prevailed. For the coalition of local groups that organized the event, including the Iraq Veterans Against the War and the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission, the large turnout was encouraging. But even if the protesters enjoyed a fine day in the park, their speeches and messages struck a somber determined chord.
"I think we'll have a lot more wars," Myles said of Bush's second term in office. "It's kind of like he wants to put us in more wars."
And as for listening to Bush's inaugural speech, in which the president spoke broadly of America's readiness to usher in "the greatest achievements in the history of freedom," Myles said she'd already heard enough.
"They made us watch it in world history [class]," she said. "I fell asleep."
-- Story and photo by Dan Wilcock