Saturday, August 28, 2010

An Honorable and a Beautiful Day

Getting on the subway at about 9AM was VERY difficult, worse than for the 912 march. People were totally packed in the train, and I am not sure we picked up everyone who wanted to get on. I arrived at 10AM on the grounds of the Washington Monument. People were streaming in from all directions and were starting to sit down on the grounds of the Monument, as it was pretty clear the area closer the Lincoln Memorial was already pretty filled up. I started to make my way over towards the Lincoln Memorial, and you could not get close to the reflecting pond. It was just wall to wall people. I was able to walk behind the packed people on the right hand side, however, and make my way (slowly) around to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. There were people sitting everywhere, all the way up to the pond, packed together in some places and scattered in others. Some had a visual of the jumbotron, some could hear. Many could not see and could not hear and yet there they sat, just wanting to be part of this. The speaker system was terrific, but it is hard to get those sound waves to go to all corners.

I kept walking and taking pics. I constantly overheard people trying to connect up with other participants via cellphone and not succeeding in that. It was very hard to figure out how to negotiate the crowds in order to find people. I continued on, back around, finally reaching the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I was able to get behind the stage, but not before running into the three PETA demonstrators. One was dressed as a carrot and another as a radish or something and those two great big stuffed animals were accompanied by a young girl who was being very friendly to the rally participants. They were advertising for Veganism and had two signs, one of which was about teabags and was not very nice, as I recall.

Anyway, the narrow access to that area right behind the stage was completely packed, but once I was on the steps of the Memorial, things opened up a bit. Then I went around to the left side, and found just as many people over there as had been on the right side. I sought shade quite a few times, as this was a sunny day and a bit warm........and I actually crawled under some tree branches in order to try to cool down. I got to listen to the entire Beck speech from this location, though I could see nothing.

When the rally finally ended, I got up close to reflecting pond, as people began to leave. I got pics of our Tim Johnson (Vice Chair of the NC Republican Party) who was on the stage shaking hands with other VIPS. There were three country singers singing after the close of the rally, and many stayed to hear them. Even after all the singing was done, a very large number of groups just continued to sit there in their chairs. Thousands of people....just sitting and talking. After the rally was over. My only guess is that they were catching buses, and the buses were not due to depart for a few hours and they figured it was more comfortable to wait in the shade on the People's National Mall, rather than in a hot bus lot.

I went down the mall, towards the museums. Here, over near or on Independence Avenue, I encountered the militant, taunting people of the Al Sharpton march. I crossed the mall to the other side, finding in the middle, a massive stage set up with a pic of Martin Luther King Jr. But the audience area was empty. I am not sure if this is where the Sharpton March was eventually headed? Anyway, another terrific speaker system was playing King's speeches. And since no official audience was there, it was cool to see quite a few people were sitting in chairs in groups, scattered at wide distances, listening to these speeches. These people were sporting Gadsden flags and American flags and wearing Restoring Honor t-shirts. So my guess is that they had just finished being participants at the Restoring Honor rally. There were hundreds of such people sitting and listening to the voice and the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Then I went in to the National Museum of History. And that place was chock full of of families who had just attended the Restoring Honor rally.

It had been a day of sharing, of helping, of cooperating. People were offering each other chairs, umbrellas, water; three people stopped to help me climb over the WWII Memorial wall. Everyone all day long was friendly to each other, they were unshakable to any who were trying to make trouble. People brought big trash bags and took complete responsibility for taking their trash out with them.

It was a great day.
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