After reading an article from Smithsonian.com, I am able to better understand the emotion behind the photograph of Jan Rose Kasmir. It is very clear that the picture is a very moving and powerful one, but for the most part the information I have found has not given the emotion behind the picture I think it deserves. The article from Smithsonian.com puts this emotion in a better perspective.
The protest on October 21, 1967 was not the first gathering, the last gathering, or the largest. The rally on that day became known as the March on the Pentagon and it had a very clear purpose: the protestors that day hoped to shut down the war effort, if only for a day.
The crowd was estimated at around 100,000 people with more than 2,500 armed soldiers in their way. In the midst of the thousands of people and soldiers, Marc Riboud noticed a long girl posturing inches from the armed soldiers who were pointing their bayonets towards her. “She was just talking, trying to catch the eye of the soldiers, maybe try to have a dialogue with them,” recalls the 80-year-old Riboud, “I had the feeling the soldiers were more afraid of her than she was of the bayonets.” Marc Riboud crept close are Jan continued to talk to the soldiers, snapping pictures as he went.
Even though Riboud would not know the name of the girl for over 3 decades but the photograph of her became the defining image of an antiwar era which would be reprinted in newspapers around the world.
The girl Marc Riboud had just captured the picture of had bounced around from foster home to foster home in the nearby Maryland suburbs. Jan Rose Kasmir stated, ” I was a good heart trying to follow the light. I just hopped on a D.C. transit bus and went to join the revolution. None of this was planned.” The emotion brought forward on Jan Rose Kasmir’s unexpected day would soon be seen all around the world.