"I mean, we've seen on so many different levels that the cowards of Broward [County] failed, the Federal Bureau of Investigation failed, Sheriff Scott Israel failed". Voter registration activists fanned out in the crowds, signing up thousands of the nation's newest voters. The chanting. "Enough is enough".
I watch this happen again and again, as armed police held back screaming fans and teenagers from harassing some of their favorite advocate-celebrities.
But this protest felt different.
A key focus of Saturday's march on Washington, which was duplicated in 800 cities across the country and around the world, was an effort to turn emotion into political activism by registering participants to vote.
Samantha's mother, Ellyn, held a sign reading "I'm Marching So No Other Parent Has to Hear 'Mom, I've Been Shot'".
He believes increased safety measures are needed in schools to prevent mass shootings.
"This day in age, we do have law-abiding citizens who possess these guns, we're not addressing those folks - those avid hunters - we're trying to get the guns off the street from those who mean harm for mankind", Williams said. And most of all, we're fed up because the solutions are so clear. Today we march, we fight, we roar. "But the active engagement by young people convinced Congress we better do something". (GRS'55, Hon.'59), spoke with more poise and passion than many of our nation's leaders.
In addition to pushing for tighter gun laws, the students have been working to register young people to vote. Every speaker emphasized the same message: it's our turn now.
The fire alarm at Trenton High School is scary, said 17-year-old Gabrielle James at a march in suburban Detroit.
But, in fact, Saturday's massive show of youthful determination was not all about gun control. "Whose stories don't lead on the evening news", Wadler said. Their involvement has added urgency to the call for gun reform legislation.
She said government has "extremely failed" to protect students from gun violence and she wants restrictions on automatic weapons. With school shootings occurring almost every month, students, with the support of their families and teachers, are now making their voices heard.
Friday, students at three Springfield high schools, Kickapoo, Glendale and Central, along with students at smaller districts in the Ozarks as well as at Missouri State University and Drury, took part in SGF Walkout For Our Lives. That's a narrative, and a reality, that no politician should be able to ignore.
"I'm trying to make sense of it myself and support this movement because there have been so many killings of high school students, middle school students, I think its time to stop", said Uchibeke. "They tell you if anyone comes into the school with a gun to get down and if they shoot at you to get under the desk". And politicians beware, because there are millions of pissed-off Americans ready for a revolution.
It was clear that while "thoughts and prayers" and mourning are important, they are no longer enough.
The impact of this weekend's worldwide slate of marches remains to be seen.
"While Washington, D.C. authorities have yet to give an official estimate, reports published by major news organizations put the crowd size at 850,000 people, which would make it the largest demonstration in the capital's history", said the release by 42West, a leading Los Angeles public-relations firm.