By Gabe Falsetta
It was a beautiful day Feb. 20 for New Yorkers and for health care reform.
The sun was shining while the temperature hovered around 40 degrees and New Yorkers-over 4,000 strong - sent a clear message to lawmakers: pass health care reform with a strong public option.
Coming from all five boroughs, people assembled on the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge for the march. The rally was held on the Manhattan side not far from City Hall.
David Braun, a member of MoveOn, spoke at the rally and pointed out that while Dick Cheney was bringing up terror - again and again - 45,000 people die every year in this country simply because they lack access to affordable health insurance. Several other speakers took the stand in front of the offices of the health care giant, Wellpoint to tell their stories of being denied needed care due to insurance companies trying to cut costs to keep profits up.
Frank Stearns, president of Veterans for Peace Chapter 34 NYC said, "The burden of health care nearly crippled the auto industry, if America had a national health care system there would be many more workers in the industry today."
As we marched across the bridge we held our signs high so the cars passing below could see, lots of cars honked for health care, not the traffic! The pedestrians, many of whom were tourists, took pictures and asked questions. One marcher commented in jest to a group of tourists that they should wait to get sick when they return to their respective country.
The New York march was one 40 actions in 32 states that took place over the last week as part of Health Care for America Now's national week of action.