Thursday, September 2, 2010

My Trip to Washington, D.C. - Part 2

Saturday was 8/28 and the Glenn Beck- sponsored rally known as Restoring Honor is to be held at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. My alarm goes off at 6:00 a.m. and shortly thereafter I was in the restaurant for breakfast. I planned to eat a large breakfast because there would be nothing to eat until late afternoon. From the buffet I took a little of everything including the biscuits and gravy. Lots of liquids because it was to be 95 degrees with very little shade.

Down the hill to the Metro and off at Union Station. My plan was to ride the double-decker bus to the Lincoln Memorial and thus avoid the two mile walk, but 7th Avenue was already closed and no buses or automobile traffic would be allowed past the Washington Monument. I asked about the fare from a cabbie and he said $15.00 for one. Standing nearby was two people from New Orleans also going to the Rally, so we each paid five dollars. But, the Washington Monument was as close as we could get.

Thousands were already streaming down the Mall and it was just eight a.m.. I continued walking toward the stage until there were more people coming back than going. The area around the Reflecting Pool was already full to overflowing. I decided to get close to one of the large viewing screens and that was among the trees on the left side of the Reflecting Pool. Everyone was talking to everyone, so I asked an older man if I could sit next to his blanket. It turns out he was from Memphis and had come to the event with his daughter and 13 year-old grandson. For the next few hours, we were friends.

As we approached the starting time of 10:00 a.m., I looked back down the Mall toward the Capitol and as far as the Washington Monument there was just a mass of people. That is a distance of 1 mile - a great sea of men, women and children. Glenn Beck had encouraged families to attend and they did. I saw babies in arms, and in strollers. Wheelchairs were common. Nearby, was a young quadriplegic. His mother had brought him in one of those large electric wheelchairs. Families wore the Restoring Honor T-shirts and the younger kids pulled the ice chests and folding chairs. I was the only person who didn’t have a back pack! It was an amazing display of people helping people. Police made not a single arrest the entire day.

The organizers had asked for a flyover, but it was denied. In fact, not a single one of the Armed Forces would supply a military group to present the flag. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by a Boy Scout. At 9:59, a flock of geese, perhaps 20-25 flew over the crowd in a perfect V formation. The crowd cheered. Some said God provided His own flyover.

I don’t how to summarize the program. It started at 10 a.m. and stopped at 1:15 p.m.. The message from Alveda King was a crowd favorite. If you google her name, you can hear her comments, but it does not record the crowd reaction. An elderly black preacher was honored but his name escapes me at this moment, however, he brought the crowd to its feet and his sermon was one of the longest. There was no attempt to control the length of any comments. Tony LaRussa, manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, was presented and he talked briefly about his own personal relationship with God. He then introduced Albert Pujois who was to receive the “Badge of Merit” for “Hope”. Pujois gave his testimony as a born-again Christian and said that God was first in his life and everything else was second. There is information on the Internet about his family foundation, established to help down syndrome babies and strengthen families.

Sarah Palin was obviously a crowd favorite and she was given a standing ovation. Her role was to introduce the three veterans that were honored. One man had lost both arms in Iran, another was a prisoner of war during the Vietnam war and the third was a man whose face was terribly disfigured in Vietnam but he overcame and is now a pastor.

Perhaps the most touching moment was when the bagpipes began Amazing Grace and a lady with a magnificent voice began singing and thousands sang along. Glenn Beck had the final segment and he urged the crowd to find God, join a church and begin tithing 10% of their income to the church. The theme throughout the day was Faith, Hope and Charity. These, coupled with honesty, can make a difference. It’s hard to describe the Rally. It was like church, a southern revival meeting. There were tears, prayers and singing. People often stood with hands raised to Heaven, hearty amens echoed through the trees. There was no anger, no political signs and no harassment. Park officials reported that the grounds were totally clear of trash. I have no other words to describe the event.

NBC reported the attendance at 87,000 so their reporter must have been there before dawn. It is such a disappointment that the Press is unwilling to be truthful if it doesn’t fit their liberal views. The Washington Post said 300,000 were present. Glenn Beck, I believe, has accurately proven that at least 500,000 and perhaps more, were in attendance.

The official program ended about 1:15 but entertainment continued much longer. I began the long walk back to the Metro. The closest station was the Smithsonian but by the time I arrived a crowd had already formed which the news later reported was the length of two football fields. The next station was the Federal Triangle, but it was closed by police because the underground platforms were already filled to capacity. I was told that Metro Center was also closed and the underground waiting area was filled to capacity. These waiting areas are block long underground areas and they were filled with people waiting for trains. Go to “Metro DC” and you can see pictures of the waiting areas.

It was time to eat, so back to Harry’s for one of their famous hamburgers, but this time without the bun. There was a long line at the front entrance, but I had previously used a side door and there was no waiting. It took over an hour for service, but the iced tea was a welcome treat.

By 6:00 p.m., I was able to access the Metro station, got the Red line and headed for Silver Spring. A stop at McDonald’s, the long uphill walk and I am finally at the Hilton.

(The hostage situation and shooting yesterday occurred just across the street from the Metro station in Silver Spring.)

Tomorrow is Sunday.

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