I am a worrier. I have always been and probably always will be a worrier. I worry about EVERYTHING. It is my nature. Some may consider this as negative, I consider it a gift, for it is those that do not worry, that do not see what has slowly been happening to our country. I have been concerned about our nation since Nixon resigned. I was only a pre teen at the time, but I knew it was huge. I actually paid attention to what Carter was doing and I think I was the only kid at my school who let out an agonizing scream when I heard we were just giving away the Panama Canal.
On the night of April 14th, 2009, I could not sleep, I was sooooo nervous and excited about the coming events. In my mind I saw everything from a huge turnout to a half a dozen people, including the volunteers and speakers. I pictured everything that could possibly go wrong and everything that could possibly go right. Unlike most of my fellow patriots, this was not my first rodeo. Pictures of past rallies and protests flashed before my eyes. The latest homeland security report referring to us as domestic terrorists played over and over in my imagination, i fought off the moments of panic. My mind was spinning out of control, finally, about 3am exhaustion overcame my busy mind.
When I woke on the morning of the big day, I hurried to dress and be on my way. I couldn’t eat, the nerves were still in the pit of my tummy. I raced out the door and took about two steps before I turned back. I couldn’t go like this, my patriotic tee shirt was just not going to be warm enough….emergency wardrobe change. I put on my warmest sweater, which was about as far from patriotic looking as possible and grabbed a waterproof jacket. I was hoping that this was not a sign of things to come.
Things began to look up as I made the drive to the rendezvous point where I was to meet Lori who had agreed to give me a ride so that I did not end up at the Chicago party by accident. I only got lost twice, WOW, things were looking up big time. I arrived a half hour early, ( I had given myself plenty of time to get lost, I have a lousy sense of direction) and pumped myself up with patriotic music while I waited. I was getting all tingly inside, for a moment, there was no doubt about the success of our party.
We arrived about 9:30. I was amazed to see the number of people who were already there, working hard to set things up. Lori began setting up the Medical tent and I located the security leader, Jeff. I had volunteered to be the token female officer. There I was, a middle aged woman surrounded by a bunch of great looking men, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Then we were handed our assignments, with trembling hands I adjusted my bi-focals and looked at my position. I was given section “E”, the streets. I paused for a moment and wondered if it was merely coincidence that the ONLY WOMAN was assigned a street walking position? hmmm
When we dispersed, I headed down to check out my “territory” that is when I discovered what my real job was, my territory included the dreaded but needed porta potties!!! Yes, I was sent down to guard the loo!!!
I then returned up front to help my fellow patriots set up. In my mind, I was 20 again, I joyfully pitched in to show that I could work as hard as any of the guys hauling up boxes of books, setting up canopies, and any other manual job that needed done. It was at this point my body began to whisper the truth in my ear, I was no longer 20 or 30 or 40 for that matter. I did not let a little thing like being middle aged and out of shape stop me, I forged ahead, ignoring every complaint my muscles made.
By noon, I was regretting not eating breakfast, I was starving. Then it happened, at first I thought it was a hallucination caused by my hunger, but it was real!!! A young man came by with a cooler full of fresh hot Chic Fillet sandwiches just for me! (OK, the rest of the volunteers too). Then to make things even better, they handed me a bag of chips and a BROWNIE, you heard that right, CHOCOLATE!!!! Oh the pleasure!!! Once again I was super woman. I tore into the best tasting sandwich of my life and raced to the medical tent. No, I was not sick, but that is where I had left my drink.
By now it was 12:30 and I noticed that while I had been taking care of my needs, people were already beginning to arrive. By the time we had our 1:30 security meeting where we were given our radios I knew that my fun and games time was over. I would say we already had at least 200 guests at that point. I decided it was time to begin my career as a streetwalker. While there I spoke with an older gentleman who said he was a disabled Korean War vet and was sick about the direction this country was going. I spent probably a half an hour speaking with him and felt he was genuine. You will hear more about him later.
By 2:30 I finally decided I had no choice but to check out the interior of one of the porta potties. I stopped in amazement when I opened the door and turned to the grounds, at least a thousand people had miraculously appeared in the few moments I was detained. I double checked the time, it was only 2:33. By 3:30 the view from my corner was obstructed by a sea of red white and blue. Pride swelled up inside at the site of the rapidly growing crowd, there were old people, young people, white people, black people, tall people, short people, people in wheel chairs, skinny people, cuddly people, well dressed people and yes, those who you could tell shopped at wal mart and the second hand stores. All, regardless of where they came from, were joining as one people, Americans.
Then it happened, the band started playing. By the time they played Neil Diamonds “America” I knew I had a problem. Here I was, I supposed to be security and tough enough to handle any situation, standing on a corner, next to the loo, crying. Yup, I was doing well. I tried to control the tears, but the pride and love for my country kept the tears flowing. After wrestling with my emotions, I managed once again to appear to be professional. This lasted until the second note in “the Star Spangled Banner”. Then Niagara falls began again.
My job was boring for the most part, THANK GOD. Two people who were unaware of the “no stick” rule had to be sent over to the atta boy stick removal van, but other than that, things were going well. The crowd was so thick, no matter what I did, I could not see the stage, or anything close to it, so I gave up trying and just walked up and down my section. That is when a character caught my eye. He looked like the carny in the “Wizard Of Oz”. Complete with gold colored turban. In his left hand he held a full headed mask on a stick. I went closer to investigate the situation. Then I stopped dead in my tracks. This spectacle was no one else but the kindly, patriotic sounding, Korean vet that I had spoken to at length earlier. I asked what he was doing, he just looked at me and said “things can change on a dime” and “you just never know a person by what they appear to be”. He was not causing a disturbance, and was staying on the sidewalk, so we just left him alone. Yet I will carry his lesson with me for a long time. We need to be careful because the people around us may not be what they appear to be.
I did my best to listen to the speakers, the radio, and watch my area. Right before the keynote speaker, the wonderful “Thomas Paine” portrayed by Dr. Basso, a small group with a blow horn began walking our perimeter. They were distracting the people in back from being able to hear the speaker. We were told by State Police that there was NOTHING we could do about this situation. THIS GROUP OF PEOPLE WERE NOT PART OF OUR GROUP!!!! By their own admission they did not support what we were doing. They were yelling rhetoric about how it is too late and calling people to arms. THIS WAS NOT AND IS NOT OUR MESSAGE!!! They angered me so greatly that I forgot about all of the previously whispering muscles who had been yelling at me for the past hour.
When the event was over, people left in a cheery, upbeat, determined to win, and orderly fashion. I had volunteered to help with cleaning up the trash on the lawn, this took about two minutes. The only trash found anywhere on the grounds was one gum wrapper, one discarded sign, and three cigarette butts. That was it. NOT A SINGLE PIECE OF OUR LITERATURE WAS TOSSED ON THE GROUNDS!!! It was then that I made a horrible discovery. I am old. Without the adrenaline keeping me standing, my muscles were threatening failure. I hurt in places I was not even aware that I had.
I was in great physical pain as I limped over to the after party gathering where we were given pizza and nachos. It was worth every ounce of discomfort my body was giving me. Listening to Dr. Basso talk about where we should go from here inspired me in a way that I can not recall ever feeling inspired before. I was a sponge soaking up the wisdom he was sharing with us. I can honestly say that this was a life changing experience for me. Just recalling our party is once again causing my eyes to blur with patriotic pride. The coming months and perhaps years will not be easy, but for once I am not worried, at the end of the day we WILL GET OUR CONSTITUTION BACK.
This was a wonderful event with well over 10,000 AMERICANS joining as one. I will never forget it. A special thanks to Richard and Laura Behney for all they have done. Until next time