The Catonsville Nine File
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The ActionThe BeginningResistanceBlood to FireConsequences
On May 17, 1968, two women and seven men, three in clerical attire, arrived at the Selective Service office, Local Board 33, located in the Knights of Columbus building in Catonsville, Maryland, a suburb of Baltimore.

Entering the second-floor Selective Service office, the raiders brushed past three shocked employees and headed for the filing cabinets along the wall. They seized several hundred A-1 draft records, stuffing them into two wire incinerator baskets. Outside in the parking lot, the files were spilled on the ground, doused with homemade napalm, and ignited.

Several onlookers, including previously alerted members of the press, gathered to watch the event. As the documents burned, the participants clasped hands near the fire and quietly recited the Lord's Prayer. Their purpose, they said, was to stop the flow of soldiers to Vietnam. "We do this because everything else has failed," said one.

After a short time, five police officers arrived, arrested the participants, and loaded them into the back of a paddy wagon. Meanwhile Baltimore County firefighters put out the fire. The entire action took less than fifteen minutes.

The protestors were later identified as Philip Berrigan, Daniel Berrigan, David Darst, John Hogan, Tom Lewis, John Melville, Marjorie Melville, George Mische, and Mary Moylan.

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