Ok – I’ve posted about one quarter of the fantastic sign pictures I took today, and I’m going to have to crash for the long drive home tomorrow. Before I do, I thought I would share my impressions of the day while they are still fresh. I’ll post more pics in the coming days – so stay tuned!
9:00 Entering the DC Metro at Dupont Circle. The trains arriving in station were quite full, but we squeezed on.
9:30 Arrival at Metro Station, a key hub in the DC Metro system. Upon exiting the trains, the station was streaming with 9-12ers! But nothing could prepare me as I exited the station onto 12th street and saw throngs heading toward Freedom Park, two blocks away. As I rounded the last corner onto 11th, I realized that there was no way I would be able to get into Freedom Park – the entire block was FULL of people! It was then that I realized that that nearly EVERY sign was home made – thousands and thousands of them! Patriots from everywhere in the USA were still streaming in. I heard a Bullhorn announce that Senator Jim DeMint was talking to folks over by the Starbucks, but to head over there was impossible due to the human traffic jam.
9:45 People begin to march in large numbers towards the Capitol. The march wasn’t schedule to go off until 11:30am, but I suppose either people realized that if they didn’t get moving they would never make it to the festivities until they ended due to the large numbers! After walking about a block, I turned around and become instantly mesmerized by the amazing signs I was seeing. I then decided to turn around facing the marchers, standing in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue, and let them flow around me. I have to tell you – this was an incredible experience! The joy in people’s faces, the cheerfulness, the patriotism, and the general good mood that surrounded this day is truly hard to describe. I literally burned my Iphone battery down to nothing taking over 400 pictures! I passed out 1000 business cards to folks I took pictures of and other folks as well in the span of only 45 minutes. You have to realize that I only handed them to people in arms reach! so any estimate by the media which suggests that only 50,000 people were there on 9-12 is ridiculous. There is NO WAY I managed to pass cards out to 1 in 50 attendees.
11:00 Decided to march towards the capitol – its about a half hour walk, and I didn’t want to miss any of the action on the lawn. The West Lawn of the Capitol is big, but its not that big – so we had to settle for a spot on the eastern most edge of the Mall. We had a great view of the crowd and could mostly hear the speeches and music. But it really wasn’t about that. Once you were settled into your patch of grass, it was one big tailgate party! People just had a great time, showing off their signs, asking where you came from, and expressing their general frustrations with the overgrowth of the federal government. The speeches and music continued until just after 3:30 and then it was time to pack it up. It was an nice orderly crowd dispersal, and I have to say – a SUPER CLEAN job by everyone. There was NO Little left about, and everyone was very thoughtful about making sure the left the place better than they found it.
4:00 We walked towards the Washington Monument for a final inspiration and view. Things are much further apart in DC than they appear, and its about a half hour walk from the Capitol area to the Washington Monument. Shortly after we arrived at the monument, we heard the roaring whoop of helicopters. As we looked up, two choppers zoomed right past the Washington Monument towards the White House. these guys were flying just above treetop level and going very fast. One peeled left, the other peeled right and about 30 seconds later another chopper zoomed directly at the White House. We were seeing President Obama flying back home to the White House! I can only hope he caught a glimpse of the many thousands of Tea Partiers still milling about the Mall as he flew home from his Minnesota health care talk to only 15,000 people! Hah – he could have stayed home in Washington DC and talked to up to 100 times that number of people!!!
6:00 we entered the Smithsonian Metro station – boy was this place PACKED! The police were yelling at us to move in tighter on the platform level so they could get more folks down there! That didn’t make much sense to me, and made me a little nervous about the kiddies, but we managed to squeeze into a packed train for the ride back to the hotel for a well deserved dinner.
A great, inspiring day! my thanks to all the volunteers running the event, and most importantly – all of my fellow Americans who had the courage of their convictions to come out to express their frustration with our Elected Officials.
This is only the beginning!