"A big difference between the antiwar movement now and the one in Vietnam is that there has not been – even among the most radical of them – attacks on the troops themselves," says political scientist John Allen Williams of Loyola University Chicago. "That is absolutely crucial."
That's one reason Tim Kahlor of Temecula, Calif., will join protesters in Washington.
He turned against the war when he had to send his soldier son in Iraq proper body armor and night-vision equipment. "I got ticked off, and it snowballed," says Mr. Kahlor. "I started out as an upset parent trying to protect my son's unit and ended up spending hours every day writing letters and e-mails," he says, adding, "I'm just as ticked at the Democrats as the Republicans."
Nearly four years into the war, new antiwar recruits planning to travel to the rally in Washington include people like Judy Hess, who hasn't protested anything since she was in college during the Kent State shootings in 1970 when four Vietnam War protesters were killed by US National Guard troops.
"I was politically aware, politically interested, and always voted...." says Ms. Hess of Chula Vista, Calif. "But it was this war and how we got into it that really got me active."
Across the country, retiree Beverley Wiskow of Inverness, Fla., whose son-in-law has been serving in Iraq since July, will drive with three others to Washington for the protest rally and march.
"Congress clearly is not doing anything," she says. "The only hope for ending this is for the American people to say if you won't listen to us at the ballot box, perhaps you'll listen to us in the streets. I think our democracy is at stake."
Charlie Williams will leave his coffee shop in Daytona Beach, Fla., to drive north. "I think it's the moral thing to do, the right thing to do," he says. "I don't want my country getting involved in all this stuff."
These days, Phil Restino of Daytona Beach, Fla., has been spending most of his waking hours fielding calls from people in Florida and Georgia who are looking for rides to Washington or wanting to donate money.
"The phone has been ringing off the hook," says Mr. Restino, an Army veteran active with Veterans for Peace. "I haven't shaved in two days."