On August 28, 1963, I participated in my first protest march on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. On January 6, 2021, I participated in my last. Over many of the intervening years I watched the United States, as exemplified by the August 1963 march, make great strides in living up to the lofty goals set forth in its Declaration of Independence. However, in recent years I have ruefully observed this nation, as exemplified by the January 6, 2021 march, inexplicably choose to set itself on the same road of inevitable self-destruction that so many failed societies have traveled.
It was an overcast, albeit mild August day by Washington D.C. standards, as I, about to begin my freshman year at Catholic University, joined the thousands walking along Constitution Avenue toward the Lincoln Memorial. While it was a diverse gathering, the most noticeable among us were those that bore the scars of the civil rights battles in the deep South. Regardless of skin color, nationality or faith all were there to exercise their Constitutional right to petition Congress to address institutionalized segregation and racism.