Following a dinner break in Savannah, where diners had a variety of chain-restaurants to choose from, the bus caravan resumed its journey to the nation’s capital. Many of those on Bus 3 are drifting off to sleep or idly playing with their smartphones. For earlier missives, click here (Coral Springs to Ft. Pierce) or here (Ft. Pierce to Savannah).
— Dan Evans, South Florida News Service
Near the Pentagon, Virginia — 7:47 a.m.
As the sun rose, so did the passengers of Bus 3. Throughout the night, as the bus drove farther north the temperature on board began to drop. Everyone began slowly dressing in their warm clothes as they attempted to sleep on the bus chairs.
William Berk, an MSD student, woke up to find out he did not pack the appropriate clothes for the 30-degree weather.
“I thought it was going to be 50,” he said.
Thankfully, Skyler Fauman and Nicholas Forero were willing to lend William some spare warm accessories. Now he sports bright pink earmuffs and a heat pack.
— Maria Gil, South Florida News Service
Fredricksburg, Virginia — 7:15 a.m.
At 7 a.m. the students began to wake up from a rough nights sleep. Although they were content to be in Virginia, they were concerned about the freezing temperatures.
“I had to put my shoes on just ’cause it was so bad,” said student Matt Nimah.
Along with Nimah, Nicholas Ferrero and Skyler Tauman were concerned about getting frostbite on their feet.
“I mean we’re Florida kids, man,” Said SFNS reporter Adrian Nones-Newman. “We’re not used to it.”
— Victoria Salas, South Florida News Service
Rocky Mount, North Carolina –3:30 a.m.
It’s about 3:30 a.m.
The Stoneman Douglas March for Our Lives bus caravan is still in North Carolina, making its way up I-95 to Washington, DC.
Most of the 26 passengers on Bus 4 are catching some fitful sleep ahead of a day that will start at about 5:30 a.m. when they arrive at the bus staging area at RFK Stadium.
Bus captains have already explained how to summon the Lyft drivers – the company donated its services – that will take everyone to the J. W. Marriott on Pennsylvania Avenue.
That’s where the bus contingent will meet up with those who arrived by plane or auto and have breakfast, also donated.
Then, organizers hope to rally the entire Stoneman Douglas delegation – perhaps more than a thousand – to march #MSDSTRONG.
— Neil Reisner, South Florida News Service
Florence, South Carolina — 1:45 a.m.
“It’s not even just about guns, it’s about mental health as well,” said Skylar Tauman.
She woke up at 1:30 a.m. while the bus stopped for gas. On her smartphone, she saw a statement from an Instagram user who argued that student activists are being paid to protest for gun reform.
She also says that the counselors that had met with Nikolas Cruz had also attempted to counsel her brother, but that their methods are not helpful.
Savannah, Georgia — 10:02 pm
The journey is now approaching its 12th hour: two restroom breaks, one dinner break and one state line.
Two stops were made in Florida to allow the last bus to catch up. Weary passengers stretched their legs and made use of the facilities, most choosing not to use the bus bathroom.
After crossing state lines into Georgia, the group split up to eat. Some went to IHOP, others to Cracker Barrel and still others went to Applebee’s.
Upon return, one passenger on Bus 3 was missing. After a brief and frantic search, he was found to have switched buses, something passengers had been sternly instructed not to do.
— Adrian Nones-Newman, South Florida News Service\
Ridgeland, Georgia — 10:45 pm
The March For Our Lives movement is a worldwide movement, and it saw one of its first marches in the east coast of Australia. A crowd gathered in Hyde Park in Sydney to show their support.
While a reporter took down the information on Bus 3, David Suster joined the team as a correspondent Down Under, joining the crowd and talking to people at the rally.
“Arm me with books, not bullets,” an American said at the protest.
In 1996, Australia had its deadliest mass shooting in its history. Thirty-five people lost their lives.
Afterward, the Australian government significantly restricted gun ownership.
A Sydney student, Olivia Martin, said she was thankful that the country’s leaders recognized the dangers of firearms.
During the protest, 17 students lined up and had a moment of silence for the 17 lives lost on Valentine’s Day in Parkland.
“It’s really brave what they’re doing in America, and I hope they know that with all the marches across the world that they’ve got support,” said Elle Quayle, an Aussie march attendee.
There were also voter registration forms made available for Americans living abroad.
— Maria Gil, South Florida News Service