WASHINGTON – A group of friends said they enjoyed the Women’s March on Washington Saturday despite temporary separation and the longer trips on Metro to and from the March.
“We met as colleagues. We work together, but we’re all friends,” Rockville resident Susan Seling said.
Seling, who works for the county’s Department of Health and Human Services, said her train at Grosvenor was crowded Saturday morning but riders on her train made the ride pleasant.
“We were able to board the first train that came, but it was very,very crowded, and lots of good energy,” Seling said.
She concluded most riders were heading to the march by the number of pink hats and homemade signs on her car and the rest of the train.
She said the trip took her one hour and 45 minutes.
Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said Saturday was the second-highest day of ridership in Metro history, behind former President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration.
Vickie Buckland, College Park resident, said she didn’t mind her trip.
It was a little different from Seling’s.
She and her daughter, Marianne McCloskey, age 18, arrived at Greenbelt Metro Station around 8:30 a.m. and met Seling and a few others just before 12 p.m.
“There was a really long line at Greenbelt Metro,” Buckland said.
Buckland said she and McCloskey waited in line to enter the station and board a train for an hour and a half.
Seling and her niece Taylor Schafer, age 23 of Cecil County, met up with Seling and Buckland’s friends, Elena Alvarado of Derwood, Betty Lam of Bethesda and Pat Brennan of Washington, D.C. She said the group tried to listen to the speeches by public figures, but they arrived around 9:30 a.m. and weren’t close enough to the stage to see or hear.
The crowds separated Seling and Schafer from the group. For awhile they couldn’t contact each other because the thousands of people using their devices caused poor service connections. Once Seling and Schafer moved closer to the Mall, they sent text messages to the rest of the group and met outside the National Gallery of Art, along with Buckland and McClosky.
The group joined the crowds that were walking toward the starting point of the march, then waited until 1 p.m., when it was scheduled to begin.
On the way there they shared their reasons for marching.
Seling said the fate of the Affordable Care Act and funding for Planned Parenthood were concerns of hers. She added her concern for immigrant rights.
“Diversity is good. We are a country built on caring for one another, opening our door,” Seling said. “We all immigrated from somewhere, and this president opposes a lot of it.”
Buckland said she is concerned about the new president.
“I’ve been dismayed the entire election season, and the transition has not been any better,” Buckland said.
Her daughter said women’s health care and the rights of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender were near the top of her list.
“I don’t want to see anything that happened under Obama come undone,” McCloskey said, later adding, “I don’t want to see same-sex marriage become illegal again.”
Lam had a list of reasons.
“It’s for all the little things that he doesn’t stand for,” Lam said sarcastically, referring to women’s rights, child care, health care and equal pay for women.
“Looking at the cabinet picks … (I’m) concerned about those,” Lam said.
“My biggest fear is immigration issues and foreign policy,” said Alvarado.
She brought a homemade sign picturing a cartoon of Trump with a picture of a wall she added. It read “Wall off trump.”
Several marchers stopped to ask whoever was holding it to hold still so that they could take a picture of it.
They did not quite follow the official planned route of the march, but were surrounded by thousands of marchers anyway.
The group members departed for home at different times. Seling and Buckland talked about their rides home.
Both encountered delays.
Buckland and McCloskey arrived at Archives Station around 4:30 p.m. After an hour of waiting in line, they reached the platform and boarded.
“The train itself wasn’t bad; we actually got a seat on the train,” Buckland said.
A train broke down, and at first they waited for it to be their train’s turn to go through the single-track zone.
Then they were offloaded from their train so that their train could pick up the passengers from the breakdown.
They waited about 30 minutes for a new train, then completed their trip for a total of about three hours, Buckland said.
Buckland said she didn’t mind the length of the trip.
“It’s clear Metro was completely swamped,” she said. “They’re doing the best they can.”
Seling, who headed home earlier, said there was a line of people waiting to enter the station, but the line was moving when she arrived.
“The Metro was crowded,” Seling said. “It wasn’t as crowded as in the morning, but we ended up walking up to Farragut North.”
She said her trip to Grosvenor Station took less than two hours.
Buckland said the ride home was less than pleasant but that she didn’t mind.
“‘I’m really tired; I wish this weren’t’ happening, but what a crazy day,’” she said she remembered thinking.