Over the weekend, anti-war protesters gathered in Washington DC to march on the Pentagon, reminiscent of a similar march back in 1967. There was plenty of coverage of this demonstration, and that of sister demonstrations around the world. What many of you might not know was that there was a gathering of people who not only support the troops, but are tired of the anti-war crowd getting all of the publicity. Surprised? If you depend on news sources like the Washington Post, New York Times, and television stations like ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN, then it's no wonder that you are.
The Gathering of Eagles joined forces with Move America Forward's pro-troop caravan to meet at the Vietnam Memorial Wall, which is originally where International ANSWER wanted to kick off their march on the Pentagon. The idea behind the gathering was to stop the possibility of protestors from desecrating the Wall, like they desecrated the steps of our Capitol Building last January. It grew into something much, much bigger.
I was there, along my friend Aaron, to show support for our troops, our president, and their mission. (I flew out of Connecticut on the day of the big storm; I believe my flight was one of the last to leave before airlines began canceling.) We were not alone. Park Service personnel phoned Gathering of Eagles organizers with their final estimate of 30,000 pro-troop people who flew, drove, or bused in. In the myriad of articles available to read about this event, it's interesting to note that this estimate is not included along with the "thousands" who were there on the side of "peace." One article I read even made sure to highlight a negative act by counter-demonstrators, saying that a tearful peace marcher had had her sign ripped up. Did it happen? It's possible. While I generally stood quietly, my sign and my American flag proudly displayed, others heckled the anti-war folks who were on their way to the march's starting point. I personally witnessed no physical harassment, but emotions were running high on both sides. If the ripping of a sign was one of the few bad things that happened, then I'm thankful that it wasn't worse.
Many anti-war protestors seemed quite surprised that they had opposition, and most of them walked by those of us who lined the sidewalk as quickly as possible in order to get to their destination. Some of them even cut across the street in order to avoid us. Others stopped to engage those who spoke up, glad for a chance to get into a verbal tussle. Capitol police were on hand, doing a thankless job in a highly professional and competent manner, something we should all be grateful for.
There are a couple of other things you won't read about in the mainstream media (or as Rush Limbaugh likes to call it, the Drive-By Media), that I'd like to outline here. Move America Forward had a program that began with the Pledge of Allegiance, a beautifully sung live rendition of the National Anthem, and a prayer led by Rev. Ed Anthony, a Vietnam War veteran. I doubt International ANSWER began their event in that fashion. There was also lots of chanting of "USA!" in between speakers, which kept the crowd excited and supportive. Speakers included Blue and Gold Star parents who thanked the "silent majority" for being silent no more, and war veterans who were also grateful for the outpouring of support for our military. One mother, whose son is currently in Iraq, sung a lovely song she had written about the bravery of her son and others who are willing to bear arms to keep the freedoms we take for granted alive.
I also personally heard the term "baby killers" being thrown at the veterans who lined the street. So if anyone tells you that all the peace marchers support the troops, please remember that this lovely phrase is still being bandied about by people who have never had to really stand up for anything other than their own selfish agendas.
Another item that isn't being reported on is who helped to swell the ranks of the anti-war protestors. It wasn't just "peace" activists out there. They were joined by people bearing placards touting the murderous Che Guevara, as well as those who are looking for the liberation of Palestine. What do those movements have to do with the American presence in Iraq? Nothing on the face of it, but you should wonder about a peace movement that is comfortable welcoming certain groups who are not shy about what they really stand for: Che Guevara's murderous commitment to communism, and those who would drive Israel into the sea by any means possible.
It was inspiring to see the many American flags waving at the Gathering of Eagles. I documented the gathering on my site, as did other bloggers who were there like Michelle Malkin and my friend Aaron. It's a good thing we did, for you won't see the pictures of flags and proud veterans and citizens in the New York Times or the Washington Post. You'll have to go to the alternative media, without which the Gathering of Eagles would never have happened, much less been reported on.
The mainstream media, unable to actually ignore those who made the effort to stand up to those who continue to drag our military down in their anti-American rhetoric, gave us scant attention. Are they really dedicated to telling the news as it happens? Or are they dedicated to telling the news the way they prefer to tell it? The "silent majority" is beginning to speak up. Today's technology makes it possible. The mainstream media can continue to ignore us, but in spite of that, we will make ourselves heard. Please join us.