On Saturday , 9/12/09 Ben and I left at 3 a.m. to drive to Washington, D.C. as part of the taxpayer protest on Capitol Hill. Ben’s mom & brother, Evan, drove down from Massachusetts and we met at the WWII Memorial.
The people were supposed to gather at Freedom Plaza around 9:00 a.m., and the March would commence around 11:30 a.m. We were three hours early, and the amount of people congregating was phenomenal! There were signs, flags, and colonial costumes . We were there to protest big government, out-of-control government spending, congressmen & senators who aren’t listening to the people, and the proposed government takeover of healthcare. We were also defending the Constitution. At first I was disappointed that I had not taken the initiative to make a sign. Then as the crowd became larger and navigation became harder, I was relieved that I didn’t have a sign to deal with.
The March on Capitol Hill had police permission to go down Pennsylvania Avenue from 14th St. to the Capitol lawn. We had to begin early, around 10 or 10:30 a.m. because Freedom Plaza could no longer contain the amount of people arriving to protest. We arrived at the Capitol lawn and spent a lot of time working to get to a place on the lawn. The police had to extend the barricade because of the volume of people. They had been prepared for a crown of 100,000 at best. We far exceeded estimations. The mass of people filled in the Capitol lawn and spread out to the side lawns. We overtook the statues and memorials surrounding the fountain in front of the Capitol. And we stretched a full mile from the Capitol back to the Washington Memorial – the same space and more that was filled by the Million March March many years ago. While most news stations are reporting the crowd size at tens of thousands, it was definitely at least hundreds of thousands, and more likely a million. One website I read said that the police estimated the crowd at 1.2 million, another said that the police refused to estimate.
It was not a riot. It was a peaceful demonstration. It was American people uniting to say to their government, “We’ve had enough!” It was a request to Congress to listen to the people. It was Americans who are concerned about the direction which their country is headed. Chants rang out of “U-S-A”. It was very American and I was proud to be there. I was proud of my country, and I was inspired to not give up hope just yet.
We met people from Texas, Ohio, Florida, Maine, Colorado, Arizona, California, Georgia, Virginia, West Virginia, Michigan, Indiana, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The group from Ohio was over 4,000 people that chartered buses to come down. The goal was to have every state represented, but I’m not sure if it happened. We heard a lady from Hawaii interviewed on the news.
While the sound system was good, the “jumbo-trons” seemed minute and were not visible (and we were on the lawn, not all the way down at the Washington Memorial). We couldn’t see the speaker or the podium. The walkways through the crowd shrank until some places could accommodate only a single file line. For about 100 port-o-potties, there were as many as 100 people in line at each one. People waited in line for more than an hour to use the Starbucks restroom (they were nice enough to let me skip to the front because I was pregnant).
My pictures cannot do justice to the feeling of being there – part of a movement, making history, surprising Washington with our volume and our voice. The speakers focused on “cleaning the House and Senate” in 2010 if they refused to hear our voice, not allowing the government to run our healthcare, and being thankful that “the cavalry has arrived.”
Though speeches were still taking place, we left around 1:00 to find some lunch. There was a Subway sandwich shop off the beaten path with a short line and a clean restroom. After lunch we made our way back to the Capitol grounds and listened to Senator Jim Demint and Mike Pence from Indiana. We decided to leave around 3:00 pm to avoid the swell at the Metro station. At this point we had walked about 5 miles for the day, my feet were blistered and my joints were exhausted. We arrived at the Metro and despite being early, we waited for several trains before finding one that would allow us to board. We said our goodbyes, and Mom & Evan headed back to Mass. and we headed back to Virginia Beach. It was a long day, but worth the effort.
Photo courtesy of Michelle Malkin. It’s not very clear because it comes from a time-lapse camera, but it give an idea of the volume of people involved in this march. You can barely make out the Capitol building at the top left of the picture.
I also saw a sign that read, “Grow your own dope. Plant a Democrat.” Another sign said “Fire Tim Geithner. Hire Dave Ramsey.” That one is for you, Dad!
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” ~Galatians 6:9
We cannot give up on our country and our freedoms yet!