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Observations on 8/28 Restoring Honor Rally

Obviously, 1 person out of the perhaps 1 million that were in attendance cannot give a definitive accounting of the events.  However, here are some observations.

  • There were a LOT of people there!  (This post will be updated later with photos – camera dead.)  The mall was packed from the Lincoln memorial to at least the Washington Monument. The crow inundated the WWII memorial.  Up by the Lincoln memorial on either side of the reflecting pool it was close to standing room only.  Vast numbers were even spilling onto the Korean war memorial.
  • People evidently largely heeded Beck’s plea for no signs.  There were a fair number of flags, but not in proportion to the size of the crowd.  There were US flags, state flags, and of course the ubiquitous “Don’t Tread on Me” flags.  Most of the latter were the small hand held variety that were being sold by vendors here and there.
  • A lot of people were wearing “restoring honor” T-shirts, but even more were simply wearing generic patriotic ones.
  • The largely white crowd was otherwise pretty diverse in age, gender, and socioeconomic background.
  • In spite of the hot, humid, and crowded conditions, people were invariably pleasant and polite.
  • Gauche and rude behavior, vile signage, and outlandish claims all appeared to be restricted to the handful of anti-Beck protesters that tried to filter their way through the crowd trying to provoke responses.  The responses that they got seemed to be largely, “we love you and will pray for you.”  Generally, they countered with derision.
  • The crowd was not only well-behaved, but also acted as good stewards to the mall.  There were people every where picking up trash and emptying trash cans and putting new bags in them.  The mall was amazingly trash free at the end of the event.
  • The rally itself largely not political (Sarah Palin made a reference to not “transforming America as some would have us do” and emphasized restoring America instead)  – it felt more like an old time religious revival.  Beck and his fellow speakers mostly exhorted the crowd to turn to God, pray, be honest in their own lives, model honor for their children, and to use their resources wisely.
  • At 925am, the other “rally” on the mall (near the Smithsonian metro station) might have had 100-200 people standing around it, even as 10’s of thousands of Restoring Honor” attendees streamed by, heading toward the Lincoln Memorial.  All the while, a speaker was spewing vitriol against the Beck rally.  He was incensed that Martin Luther King’s words were being quoted by Beck.  He referred to the Restoring Honor rally as a “separatist” rally.
  • A picture of the large banner that was being used to taunt 8/28 participants will be posted here later.  However, it sums up the negative tone and spirit evinced by the Sharpton event – at least at the onset.

1 comment

1 Matthew S. { 08.29.10 at 4:19 pm }

It was awesome to see how many people attended the rally. Plus, last I saw, there were 120 thousand watching it on Facebook, and heaven knows how many on C-Span.


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