Flowers Instead of Bullets [Moments in History]

On October 21, 1967, thousands upon thousands of protesters stormed Washington D.C. For a decade the war in Vietnam had been raging full steam, and The Movement was gaining momentum due to a surge in the media coverage of the war. Despite tremendouse outpouring of public sentiment and protest against the war President Johnson continued to escalate the war effort by strengthening the American Troop presence to a half-million; even as young men were returning in body bags at a rate of five hundred a month.

Putting flowers in the muzzles of the soldiers rifles came about by mistake and chance. Peggy Hitchcock (the sister of William Mellon Hitchcock, owner of the Millbrook estate) gave Micheal Bowen and friends money to purchase two hundred pounds of daisies for the protest in Washington D.C. The idea was to sky-bomb the Pentagon with the flowers, but the plan never took flight (pun intended). The FBI answered an ad for a pilot in the East Village Other but never showed up at the airport leaving Bowen stuck with more flowers than he knew what to do with. He drove back to the demonstration and started handing them out to the crowd.

It was a tense face-off between anti-war activists and troops with their bayonets sprouting daisies. By sundown most of the press had left and police moved in with tear gas and arrested over eight hundred people in all – many were brutally beaten. But even that didn’t dampen the spirits of the demonstrators. It only helped to strengthen their resiliency.

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