9 – 12 – 10 Taxpayer March on Washington DC (A participant’s perspective)
Our bus left for DC in a light misty rain around 7 am that morning. The damp weather couldn’t dampen our spirits and it was a feeling shared by all who’d brave their own respective journeys as we were about to find out. We had no idea how many would attend this year’s event and it was an estimate the arrival of our bus to the parking garage of Union Station would not reveal.
But the overwhelming number of people who did attend would be encouraging to us, and to the dismay of the political elites and the state-sponsoring media who continually dismiss us.
We gathered our merry band of 43 First State Patriot members and made the trek from Union Station along “Delaware” Avenue to the West lawn of the Capital. After securing our spot near the stage, several of us made our way along Constitution Avenue to the staging area for the start of the march near the Washington Monument.
The scope of this event was a pleasant surprise as we got closer to the gathering. We could hear the voice of Reverend C. L. Bryant booming through the sound system as he addressed a growing throng that sported all manner of signs, flags and attire.
As we assimilated into the crowd, the Rev Bryant began his fiery speech and got everyone pumped up and ready to march. Even as we started off on 14th street for our turn onto Pennsylvania Avenue, the crowd was highly motivated not only by the speech, but by each other!
We were no longer alone!
People from all over the country proudly carried their state’s flags, their shirts adorned with the logo of their respective organizations, and they radiated determination that grew with the knowledge that all communities from small hamlets to large cities came for the same shared purpose: To reaffirm the dominion of We the People over those who serve us; the politicians who are nothing more than public servants. And as such, it is We the People who demand that they return to the document that limits the scope of their power, influence and enumerates exactly what to spend our taxpayer money on.
And to date, they’ve abused thatprivilege!
Spectators along with event staff in their yellow hats and tee-shirts lined the streets as chants of “Nan-cy,” “Ha-rry,” and “We’re Baaaaak,” issued from the crowd and echoed off of the buildings into the ears of all present.
At one point along the route, we passed the Newseum. Ironically, the full left side of the building’s façade contains the words of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution carved into its stone face.
I say Ironic, because although the media has free reign to report as they see fit, to date (and today would be no exception) they have not covered the Tea Parties or 9-12 events with any objectivity or without undo hostility or prejudice. (If they had, I wouldn’t have to write down this narrative to demonstrate what they grossly misreported.)
A thin line of people who populated the observation deck above that building looked down upon our procession. Suddenly, a lone, clear voice just forward of us started to recite those words on the wall. It didn’t take long before the entire crowed picked up the words in a growing chorus that resembled a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. As the echo of the last spoken word died down, someone else stared a new chant, directly aimed at the Newseum building’s occupants:
As we weaved our way past those who had already claimed their spots, we finally found ours. I could see the gathering picking up more and more people. Gadsden flags, Old Glory, Navy Jacks and a host of variations to the Star Spangled Banner and other historic flags were populating the grounds.
After a brief introduction by Freedom Works President, Matthew Kibbe, a young woman approached the microphone to sing our National Anthem. Her small frame harbored an unexpectedly powerful soprano voice as her soul-stirring rendition pierced the heart of all present. Rev C.L. Bryant began what would be a pleasant afternoon of motivational speakers, with the Pledge of Allegiance. Each successive speaker discussed the various elements of the Contract From America, as well as a brief description of their organizations and anecdotes as to why they felt they could no longer stand idly by and watch the abuse of power in our nation’s Capital.
Inspiring and motivational speeches by Tito Munoz of the Conservative Hispanic Coalition, Ana Puig from Kitchen Table Patriots, to Deneen Borelli from Project 21, and Andrew Breitbart who challenged the media to cover the “600 people” who showed up, (He was kidding of course, the actual count was closer to 150 to 200 thousand!) and finally ended with a prayer from Rev Bryant.
Musical guests included Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin bros.
And the excitement wasn’t limited to the stage. Little things, inconsequential to the media, were happening among us that would never see ink on a newspaper or been given consideration of any time by an elite media broadcast; but were just as poignant to the telling of a COMPLETE story of this magnitude.
There were 3 women who toured the crowd who dared to wear burkas! But what made them so memorable was that all three of them wore burkas that were Red, White, and Blue!
And then, it happened. With as charged as the crowd was with all the speakers, it was a photo journalist who actually brought the most heart-felt emotion from me.
They were imbedded in the sea of people doing their job, focusing on taking pictures of the event with their 35mm digital cameras and telephoto lenses. Most of us took scant notice of them as they moved about the crowd.
But this one photographer grabbed my interest as he turned his back toward me to shoot a new subject. He had the usual camera bag, the omnipresent press pass and what looked like a black harness or camelback. I couldn’t really tell, because the article of cloth he had affixed over it commanded my attention.
It was a blue star flag. However, what made such an emotional impact on me was that below the one blue star were two gold ones!
For the uninitiated, blue star flags first came into use around 1917. The significance of the blue star, centered on a white rectangular field bordered in red was to indicate that a family member was serving in the military at the front during WWI (now, it indicates that a family member is deployed in support of current operations). A silver star means that a serving family member was wounded in action and a gold star means that a serving family member was killed in action. Multiple stars mean multiple family members and can all be on the same flag.
As he turned to face me, I unhesitatingly reached over to take his hand. At first he was surprised, but then understood as I stated, “I sincerely appreciate the personal sacrifices your family has made to keep our country safe.”
The group of people behind me who witnessed this exchange, seemed puzzled at first, until I explained the significance of that piece of cloth on his back. Understanding washed over them and our photo journalist, who was there to document a story, became the story! He was surrounded by well-wishers and questions as to how he came to lose his two family members.
The event ended as it began; with a prayer for our country and for all who would take up the responsibility to ensure we never again lapse into acceptance that our government walks alone in determining our fate! If we ignore what they do in our name, we lose what the founders’ intended for us; “A republic madam, if you can keep it!” – Ben Franklin.
A physically tired, but an emotionally revitalized group made their way back to Union Station to catch the bus back to Delaware, with renewed appreciation for daunting task that lay before us.
We all understand now, that the price of Freedom—is eternal vigilance!
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