Veterans lead Occupy march Nov. 11
They say they are part of the 99 per cent
In front of the beating drums, the waving flags and the mobs of Occupy Wall Street protesters, there were some new faces leading the residents of Zuccotti Park Nov. 11. More than 10 veterans marched the residents of Zuccotti Park toward Foley Square for a day of remembrance.
They were accompanied by a line of 35 police officers on motorcycles, and dozens more on foot and horseback. The chanting crowd was escorted all the way down Broadway to Foley Square.
Bill Perry, CSO of Disabled American Veterans, is a Power Trooper combat veteran with the 101st Airborne Division. He fought during the Tet Offensive in Vietnam in 1968. “The reason I’m here today is simple. I am part of the 99 per cent of the Occupy movement.”
Perry fights for the rights of veterans who have been left without benefits.
Though Perry, 64, has never camped out with the Zuccotti Park occupiers, he has been arrested for showing his support. “I was arrested Oct. 1 at an Occupy march on the Brooklyn Bridge and spent the night in jail. That’s the closest I ever got to camping out,” he says with a laugh. “I’m too old to sleep in a tent now–that’s for the younger kids. But, I’d do it if I could.”
He says the Occupy movement is restoring the American dream, a dream that was lost long ago.
“If you’re wondering why the social safety net is fraying and almost ripped, look at how we’ve turned the people into desk slaves, constantly fighting to pay the interest on their student loans and the interest on their mortgages. It’s everything they’ve been sucked into believing in for the American dream,” says Perry while waving an American flag.
Another featured veteran at the Foley Park assembly was David Suker, a teacher from Bronx Regional High School. “I’m a veteran and I’m a teacher. But first and foremost, I’m an occupier,” he says. Suker was arrested once during an Occupy protest for allegedly using his shopping cart to knock a police officer off his scooter. The first time he was arrested was during the Oct. 1 march across the Brooklyn Bridge.
“We’re going to build this movement together one day at a time, one week at a time, one month, and one year at a time, and we’re going to take this country back,” he says. “And if they don’t let us have it back, we’re going to shut it down.”
All photos and videos by Katrina Pyne.