“Somewhere Between One and Two Million”
Fox News rising star Glenn Beck launched the 9-12 project to energize and give direction to Americans who were awakening to growing problems in government but didn’t know what to do.
Patriotic groups from across the country picked up the idea of marching on Washington on September 12, the day following the anniversary of the terrorist attack on the United States eight years ago. Their motivation was mostly to send a message to a government that is out-of-control, a government that is spending future generations into hopeless debt, even if the nation’s financial structure can survive. They were protesting a government that is not only failing to spend the taxpayers money responsibly, they are failing to protect the borders and, finally, attempting to impose a takeover of medical care in some form yet to be clearly described.
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Hundreds of thousands of Americans are fed up and traveled to Washington to demonstrate their displeasure and lack of confidence in the Congress and the current occupant of the White House.
Several bus loads departed from the Upstate, promoted by WORD Radio. Each person boarding a bus in Taylors was presented with a special tee shirt by an employee of the talk radio station. Venders were also nearby selling posters and “Don’t Tread on Me” flags.
James Hoard from Greer drove to Washington, Friday, with friends. They stayed in a motel in Virginia overnight.
“We got to the metro about quarter to eight and the line was already 15 people deep at the machines. The train was absolutely packed with people. When we got to the street in D. C. it was already packed with people. We were elbow to elbow with fellow patriots. The march down Pennsylvania Avenue was supposed to start at 11:30 and word was that there were so many people that they started at 10. We marched down to the Capitol. It was a very peaceful march, with lots of cheering, chanting and slogans and singing. “You Lie” was a popular phrase along with “Hey hey ho ho Pelosi has to go!” Songs like God Bless America were prevalent.
“I could not get to the Capitol lawn where the stage was because of the huge throng that was already there. DC police estimated the crowd at 1.5 million, but being there it is easy to believe there were at least 2 million. I would say that the crowd was generally very conservative. It was like the Greenville Tea Party with a lot more people.”
“It was an amazing and memorable event to join on the March and Tea Party in Washington, D. C. this weekend,” said James Gibney, Chairman of the Upstate Young Republicans based in Greenville.
“At such a critical time in our nation’s history, Young Republicans must stand up for our Conservative values. The future of our great country depends on our activism and leadership. As chairman of the Upstate Young Republicans, we have been and will continue to be part of the Conservative Revolution here in Greenville. Too much is at stake to not take up the banner and fight for our rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!”
Glenn Dill of Fayetteville, Georgia, is 52. He was invited to take the bus trip to D. C. by a member of his Sunday School Class. He accepted almost at the last minute. “I have never participated in a protest of any kind. I have lived my comfortable life letting others stand up for the important things that could one day be gone if we are not careful. They include freedom, liberty and most importantly freedom to worship God.
“For decades we have all witnessed the threats to our country, our way of life and our religious heritage. What I witnessed on September 12 was an awakening of all of those people like me, who had finally had enough. These were not radicals, extremists, or fringe elements that the media had attempted to define. They were not the Nancy Pelosi’s Astroturf. They were average people, the middle class, the silent majority that would be silent no more.
“They were grandmothers and grandfathers, the retired, the baby boomers. They brought their kids and grandkids. There were many young folks just starting families and college aged kids. There were many veterans, some who came in wheel chairs, who were constantly being thanked for their service to the country by each of the thousands who walked by them.
“There was a pleasant atmosphere of excitement as each bus unloaded and the crowd grew by the hundreds of thousands at 8 a.m. Saturday morning. It was like the world’s biggest family reunion. Everyone excited to see each other and to share what they all had in common.
“Everyone talked of making history that day. The rumors swirled about the size of the crowd. It was clear that this was going to be a huge event. The D. C. police permit had only allowed the protesters to gather at Freedom Plaza, close to the White House, and then parade down Pennsylvania Avenue to the back of the U. S. Capitol building. The parade was to start at 11 a.m. but the crowd swelled so big so quickly that the police had to let the group begin starting up Pennsylvania Avenue and the march had to start over an hour early.
“As we marched down Pennsylvania Avenue we were greeted by people four deep on the sidewalks. Each side street we passed had more people streaming into the march. The crowd began to shout ‘Can you hear us now?’ so loudly that the echoes would take a few seconds to clear between the buildings. We sang God Bless America and other patriotic songs. As we streamed into the park behind the Capitol we could look back and see that there were still marchers back as far as you could see. It took almost 2 hours for everyone to get to the Capitol. An announcement was made that the Park Police had not allowed us to stand on the Mall, but the crowd was so large that it filled the back of the Capitol and most of the Mall almost all the way to the Washington Monument.”
There were dozens of speakers at the event that lasted for almost 5 hours. The loudest reaction came when a black preacher, the Rev. C. L. Bryant from Shreveport, Louisiana, talked about “taking back the country for God, who had blessed us with it,” Dill explained.
“On the bus ride back to Georgia on Sunday morning, our 57 people had church all morning. We sang and members of the clergy preached.
“The only time people got angry was when we heard that the media had estimated the crowd at only 75,000. We agreed that if our leadership had not ‘heard us now’ we would come back and bring millions more the next time and shut down D. C. until the lawmakers came out and talked to us.
“I have finally awakened to the real threat we face. I will never be the same and I will stay active and fighting what is going on in our country.”