Ten…"\nWe counted down like the rest of America. "Nine…eight…seven." Here we go; after months of anticipation. "Six…five." This is so exciting. "Four…three." I hope our families are watching. "Two." Bourbon Street can wait.\n"One." Where's Dick Clark anyway?\n"Happy War!" shouted Toby from our downtown New Orleans hotel. We all ceremoniously, and sarcastically, clapped. America's 48-hour window for Iraqi capitulation had passed. MSNBC made sure we knew by counting down the seconds during live telecasts.\nWar was on, whether we wanted it or not. And so was the accompanying TV coverage. It seemed we didn't have much of a choice on that, either. Even MTV, an outlet designed for specifically uninterested youth, covered the opening days of the war, pre-empting Justin Timberlake and the likes. \n"It's like a basketball game," Toby said Thursday, while CBS decided not to air the opening round of the NCAA men's basketball tournament in lieu of war coverage. \nHe was right. You could follow the box score live on television. \nWhen the first reports flowed in Thursday that 17 Iraqi soldiers were captured, Toby played out his parody.\n"That's a start," Toby said, clapping like a coach.\nIn New Orleans, the whole war seemed like a parody -- starting at the very top where everything was about those short one-liners. You know the ones they play over and over while a bar across the bottom of the screen has the same lines in print.\nIt began that Monday, though it began long before that when Bush gave his ultimatum to Saddam Hussein. "The tyrant will soon be gone."\nRemember that? \nOK, maybe not, but at a Thursday afternoon lunch, eight IU spring breakers tried to remember some of the more memorable lines while they watched the drama unfold in New Orleans' T.G.I. Friday's.\n"There was Powell: The time for diplomacy had ended," Amy said.\n"If you're not with us, you're against us," Toby said.\n"The Axis of Evil," chimed in someone else.\nThe list went on. \nThe night before, the group went to Preservation Hall (capacity 104), a New Orleans' historic jazz hall. Created in 1961, though the surroundings are much older, the hall is home to the city's sweetest jazz and one its best deals. For $5, guests get four hours of music.\nThe room is falling apart and packed well past its 104-person limit.\nThe last song we heard was a classic New Orleans funeral march, a macabre tribute for the loss of a jazz great. Next door we saw the first bombs drop on Baghdad from a pizza joint. One group huddled around a TV in the back of the restaurant. An employee watched the Arabic broadcast up front.\nWhat different thoughts we must have been thinking.\nWhat different mindsets we must have been in.\nWhat was next?\n"It's hard to picture people sad," Jamie said, "when we're so happy."
Read Chapter 11,They Marched … They Slept, Thursday