Oh, the best laid plans.. we were finally checked in at our hotel near Washington-Dulles airport, with a pizza for dinner, at midnight! After a quick three-hour “nap” we were up and headed to Union Station near The Mall.
We (a group of four) felt like we had plenty of time to walk to the Lincoln Memorial, but decided that we might need to speed up the process to get a good place to sit. We hailed a taxi, and that was one of our smarter moves.
When we arrived at the Memorial, there were already thousands of people milling around and getting situated in their folding chairs or on blankets. We found a good spot under one of the beautiful big trees that provide shade back from the edges of the Reflecting Pool between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. Huge video screens allowed everyone to get a view of the people on the stage; and an ample speaker system made everything audible.
The program began on time at 10:00am with a video highlighting the beauty of different areas of the United States. Glenn Beck explained his purpose in planning such a rally, and the program began in earnest. There were a number of nationally-known personalities who spoke, and some who were not as well-known to the general public.
Speeches and presentations followed the theme of God and country, highlighting the words and actions of many of the early presidents to present-day leaders and soldiers. Highlights included: * Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which provides college education for the children of Special Ops soldiers who died in service to the country.
* Sarah Palin, as the mother of a combat veteran, introduced Marcus Luttrell, Eddie Wright, and Tom Kirk, men who suffered devastating injuries in combat but whose faith carried them through tragedy to be productive citizens.
* A Merit Award for Faith was presented to Rev. C. O. Jackson.
* A Merit Award for Hope was presented to Albert Pujols.
* A Merit Award for Charity was presented to Jon Huntsman, whose charitable contributions exceed $1 billion.
* Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, spoke about the legacy her uncle left.
The rally included hymns, including “Amazing Grace” led by bagpipers, prayers, and videos. It concluded with a speech by Glenn Beck about the need for each of us to reflect on our world and the person within.
We considered the rally an unqualified success with an enthusiastic audience of hundreds of thousands. The eclectic group of ethnically and socio-economically diverse Americans ranged from infants to elderly and represented states all over the nation.
Following the rally, Jodee Messina and John Rich provided musical entertainment.