WASHINGTON, D.C., November 13-The sidewalk in front of the White House was blocked tonight to all but participants in the "March Against Death." The lawn behind the six foot black grille is covered with spotlights facing the street.
The first of 40,000 marchers walked out of Arlington National Cemetery at 6 p.m. tonight and the last of the marchers are expected to finish the trek at 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning.
Protestors are predominantly young, but include many GI's and veterans. Each carries a placard with the name of one American killed in Vietnam or one Vietnamese village destroyed during the war. Marchers also carry candles and paper cups.
As they reach the front gate of the White House, each calls out the name written on his card.
Directly in front of the White House is a large high-powered spotlight facing the marchers. The light makes it all but impossible to see the White House behind it.
The Long Walk
The marchers were solemn and pensive as they walked four miles from the cemetery across the Potomac to the White House, and finally to the Capitol.
There they dropped the placards into pine wood caskets behind the Grant Monument. Five drummers beat a dirge rhythm as the marchers filed by.
The march, which takes two hours to walk, proceeded quietly through the late hours of the night in a light, cold rain.
The Capital is peaceful but tense as tens of thousands of anti-war demonstrators deluge the city for further protests Friday and Saturday.
The New Mobilization Committee expects at least 200,000 protestors for Saturday's mass march down Pennsylvania Avenue.
About nine thousand Marines and soldiers trained to handle riot situations are stationed on the outskirts of Washington as a special precautionary force. In addition, the city's 3800-man police force isworking 12-hour shifts to handle the protest. Many of these are stationed outside embassies and the homes of Capital dignitaries in Washington's residential areas.
In an unprecedented move, President Nixon this afternoon visited the House of Representatives and the Senate to thank Congressmen for their support of his efforts to end the war.
Earlier today at the White House, a bi-partisan group of Representatives and Senators had told Nixon that a Congressional majority supports his peace plan. The House gave Nixon a slanting ovation when be said that, in the face of threats to American and global security, "We are not Democrats, we are not Republicans, we are Americans."
The Nixon administration also announced today that a two-block area surrounding the White House will be cordoned off during Saturday's march.
The march will begin at 1 a.m. on the Capitol Mall and bypass the White House on the way to a large rally later in the afternoon near the Washington Monument.
Justice Says No