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A Patriots March on Washington

07:35am on Sept 11th we arrived at the church in liberty township Oho, (such a patriotic sounding name)  just north of Cincinnati Ohio. We originally were to have 2 busses that grew into 3 busses and at the last minute we ended up with 4 busses. Only 1 or 2 seats left available in each bus. We were packed in.

The best description of the crowd would be grandmothers, grandfathers, veterans and a sprinkling of people in their 30's. A very few were younger. Some of the older crowd were previously hippies in their younger days. Its amazing what a few years, ummm quite a few years, at the school of hard knocks can teach a person, including hippies.

We spent about 45 minutes loading suitcases, ice chests, back packs, chairs and most reverently our home made signs. Many people talked about the issues that seemed most pressing for them, compared signs and rushed about to find a seat on the bus and hoping that they could sit with family and friends. There were a lot of people that simply came by themselves. A hodge podge of people driven by their patriotism and concern for their country. We were a proud lot indeed.

Our trip started out around 08:15 and off down the highway we went for our 11 hour journey to a destination in our capitol, no one had a clue exactly what awaited us in Washington. Jokes about counter groups were usually met with the typical attitude of "yea just let them try" or "I'll show them" or "there will be more of us than them" but nervousness could be detected in some of the responses.

Not many of these patriots had ever protested anything in there lives until just a few months earlier at local and much small tea party protests. THIS was the big event, like going to the superbowl. This was a much bigger and more important event than anything we had ever stood for or attempted. We all knew we had to be there for this was the big event, THE DAY OF RECKONING. Come hell or high water we were going, our voice was going to be heard. As patriots our duty called.

Through 11 hours marked by numerous stops, burgers, sodas, pee breaks and fidgeting around in a bus seat we finally arrived in Falls Church VA and2 busses went directly to dinner while 2 checked in at the hotel. I was on the lead bus and we got dinner first, which meant I got beer first too. I can honestly say it was a very good beer. Samuel Adams and cold as ice. Of course after 11 hours on the bus I would have drank luke warm beer out of the ash tray. I was a bit of a grueling ride and I have never been one to take meds for such events when beer works just fine. 

After dinner (not real impressive) we headed to the hotel. It was a very nice Marriott and the price of just $99.00 per night had me thinking it would be some flea bag joint. I was impressed, very impressed. I paid $289.00 in Washington before and got half the room. After check in of course we all headed to the bar or a room near by and sign making ensued along with loud discussions and more drinks. It was inspiring to see, feel, hear and just bask in the excitement of the moment. You knew history was in the making and you were part of it.

Midnight and it was lights out for me. I had a wake up call for 06:00 and the plan was to meet down stairs for a departure at 07:30 for the half hour subway ride to Washington. I got down stairs at @ 7:00 and went for the morning coffee. I called my friends to see what they wanted and ordered for all. This joint must have been working on a skeleton crew because it took forever to get coffee and bagles. It was 07:30 by the time I got it. We promptly loaded on the bus to take us to the subway and we waited, and waited, waited some more, ran out of coffee, then finally left about 7:50.

Our plans were to meet at the Washington Monument for the state of Ohio meet up point, prior to the 08:30 departure to freedom plaza, at the corner of Pennsylvania and 14th street, I believe, but the 30 minute subway ride was complicated with buying tickets on machines we had never seen, finding the right train, orange line, and getting all of our gear dragged around. We were not the 30 year olds I referenced earlier.

Since we obviously did not make the 08:30 departure from the meet up point we had to find the Ohio state starting point for the march on our own. What seemed like a very daunting task turned out to be quite simple. Just follow the crowd. The great big, long, streaming line of people, toting ice chests, chairs, flags and signs, lots of signs. Did I mention flags, there were lots of them too and there was every kind. Standard US flags, original colony flags with 13 stars in a circle, don't tread on me flags, little flags, big flags, flags in hats, backpacks, strollers, back pockets, front pockets and suffice it to say one knew they were among Americas most ardent patriots simply by the sight. My flag was a 2nd revolution flag, an original 13 colony flag with the 13 stars in a circle but with a roman numeral II in the center. The second revolution has begun and damn if was not going to have the proper flag.

So from about 09:00 to about 10:45 we stood in a swarming mass of people listening so some muffled sound of a speaker somewhere in freedom plaza, about 200 feet away. We simply could not hear the speaker over the drone of the crowd. Once in a while the speaker would say something profound and the place would break out in a roar. Me too, even if I did not understand what was said. The energy was there, the excitement and the anticipation. At around 10:45 the crown suddenly surged forward about 40 feet down Pennsylvania avenue.

The march had began, no cannon shot, no idea what the start signal was, maybe the speakers stopped, I don't know but we were ready to roll. We marched from 14th to 3rd in about 30 minutes yelling and chanting all the way. It was a constant chatter among our selves of "see that sign" , "read that one", "look at that costume" and of course photo shots down the road with the capitol building in the background and a hoard of patriots, signs and flags heading straight at it. As if on a collision course we were heading straight at our final destination, the capitol. 

Along the way we were informed over a loud speaker that the park police just announced that the crowd estimate was 1.5 million. That got the crowd roaring. That made us proud. We had achieved the 1 million that we really wanted to reach, better yet we exceeded it... Spectacularly.

Once we got to 3rd street we made a hard right turn and went past the fox news truck. A lot of photos were being taken there and there was some type of scroll that people were signing, another great act of defiance I suppose. At least for this crowd. There was no rudeness that I observed any where until we got to the CNN bus and I heard someone yelling, CNN sucks, CNN sucks, I finally realized it was me. The crowd cheered me on but would not join in. Oh well, I finally had my say with them. It felt good too!!!

Just after passing the CNN sucks bus we turned onto the lawn and quickly found a piece of turf that would seat 5 tired patriots in our chairs. We were seated on the other side of the pool of water down from the Capital. As Ellie Mae would have said, "the cement pond."  We then began to take turns walking around reading all of the signs, taking pictures and mainly just being there and taking in this huge event. People were streaming in from everywhere. Not just the road we had marched down. We heard that the highway was nearly shut down that morning. Traffic was not moving because of all the cars stuck waiting to exit. Yea BO and congress, we did that!!!

The speakers began at 1:00 pm and after about 1 hour of listening to the blah, blah, blah covered by the shouts and drone of the crowd we moved up beside Ellie Mae's cement pond where we could actually make out what the speakers were saying. We had a great time, I spoke to so many people about and was surprised to find out that a lot of people had never heard about it. So I worked hard at getting the word out. I felt good!!

We had an overcast day the entire day which was good since it kept the heat down. Temp was in the 70's and it was a very comfortable day that threatened to rain on a few occasions but never did. By 4:00 we were putting on our long sleeve shirts since the wind was blowing about 10-20 MPH. No sooner had we put them on and the rally ended. The last speaker finished at 4:00 and it was time to leave.

The crowd had thinned by 4:00 but not enough. We packed up all of our items and headed back for the subway and the confusion that we knew we would go through again. This time it was worse. Lets just say the subway was a wee bit crowded. OK, so I lied. BO does it too so it must be Washington rubbing off on me. "You Lie" happened to be a very popular sign at the rally. When we finalllllly made it on a subway we were packed in a$$hole to belly button, with signs, chairs and ice chests. It was a cluster f@ck needless to say. It took almost 1 hour to get back to the hotel, the beer, and a shower. It was midnight till I left the bar but it was well worth it.

The next day we began the road trip again, departure 08:00, coffee at 07:30 and 11 hours of the pee stops, burgers.........I was glad to get home to my own bed, but I would not have missed if I had to crawl there.