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Saturday, September 12, 2009

First-hand on-the-ground view of 912 Tea party

by the Flying Patriot

We arrived in Ft. Worth this morning for the 9/12 rally with great expectations and enthusiasm, we quickly realized we had underestimated the weather... it was a steady rain with lingering bursts of high winds and heavier rains. As we approached the event site we realized we had underestimated something else... the human spirit and the depth of patriotism in our fellow Texans. As we rounded the corner where the TV vans were setting up and news crews were frantically trying to keep rain off of equipment we were met by several thousand fellow ralliers. The brightly colored umbrellas seemed to stand out the most, some wore ponchos, while some had nothing at all to protect them from the rain and all of them with signs. Some signs were covered in clear plastic bags taped at the bottom, some were hand written but laminated and others were already beginning to give way to the elements. Even through rain drops and running paint, the message was clear... they were all here today to be heard, to be a voice against big Government and to fight for our Constitutional freedoms and rights.

Two hours before the march through downtown Ft. Worth was going to begin the energy around the Ft. Worth Convention Center was electric. As I walked around taking photos of the ever increasing numbers of soggy ralliers I was struck by one thing... true hope. I gazed upon the faces in the crowd, all ages, all races and all smiling, all encouraged by what they were seeing. I don't think any of us came today with an expectation of a crowd this size and this joyful. Every where I looked there were people laughing, engaging perfect strangers in conversations about the Constitution. Some were telling stories of a past Tea Party or revealing that this was their first ever protest at the ripe age of 77 years young. I myself have never attended an event of this size and was ill prepared physically for all the walking and emotionally for the raw patriotism that I encountered. I have often mused over the past few days in the build up to 9/12 that I wish I could have been in DC, I am now glad that I wasn't. My place was here today, with my fellow Texans and heartfelt patriots.

The crowd was as diverse at it was large. There was a group of naturalized citizens that had come from Cuba. Their signs read "I didn't escape Cuba to again find Marxism". There was a group called "Latinos for Liberty" that were handing out pocket Constitutions to anyone who would take one. I saw many Veterans from both Vietnam and Korea and one from WWII whose sign read "I have fought for this nations Freedom before and I will fight again now if I have to", the back side read "Don't make come out of this walker Obama!!" I have attended numerous Tea Parties and several Town hall meetings over the past few months and I continue to see the same thing... diversity. There were children of all ages with signs, teenagers, twenty somethings, thirty somethings with small children, grandparents, great-grandparents and all of them Patriots. All of them with a feeling deep in their hearts that they must stand up now before it is to late. Ronald Reagan said "Freedom is always only one generation away from extinction" and that fear resonated with this crowd today. One Vietnam Veteran held up a sign that read "Socialism? NOT ON MY WATCH".

As the march kicked off with Judge Andrew Napolitano leading the charge in a horse drawn carriage, it is Texas after all, we got under way. Through the blowing horns you could hear chants of "USA! USA!" or a group would pass by singing "The Eyes of Texas are upon You" or "God Bless America". As the people moved down the main streets of Ft. Worth, an estimated 17,000 to 20,000 people, it seemed there was no end as the beginning of the march was reaching the event site while the end of the line still wasn't past the starting point. That's 12 blocks and a full street width worth of people wide, 3/4 of a mile to be exact (TX exact ;) ). All were holding flags, carrying signs, waving and smiling. Such an "Angry Mob"and one I would like to spend more time with any day!

Once the march had ended the real program began, the National Anthem was sung so perfectly by a young woman that literally brought the house down with her voice and delivery. A local Pastor spoke and gave a moving speech, a few local politicians spoke as well, Judge Napolitano was up next and gave an igniting speech about Freedom, Liberty and what it means to be an American and the 9 principles and 12 values that are the 9/12 movement. I must note that while some left after the march, there were twice as many coming in for the actual rally itself at 3pm. Our numbers continued to increase as the day went on, not decrease.

Attending this event today has changed me. I have never served in the military though many in my family have and many have served their local communities as law enforcement officers, Constables, Mayors and Politicians. Growing up in a political family left me a bit jaded. I can bear witness today that either being hopeful or being jaded is a CHOICE. We as Americans have a choice everyday, we determine how our voices will be heard and how loud they will be. So many today when I asked them if they were a Republican or a Democrat answered me simply with "I'm an American". We are American's, we have a choice in how our country is run and who runs it. The men, women and children that braved the rain and wind today to send a message to Congress and everyone else in America chose to speak up, to stand up and to be heard. This movement, once a mere spark, is now a glowing ember of patriotism and a continued fight for freedom in this country.

It will not end here, this is only the beginning, America.

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