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The Official Blog of National Taxpayers Union

The 9/12 March on Washington: What I Saw

Posted by Andrew Moylan - September 12, 2009

We came, we marched, and we sent politicians a message they'll never forget! Check out some of the early pictures from the 9/12 March on Washington.

Months ago, NTU sat down with FreedomWorks, Tea Party Patriots, and other organizations to discuss the possibility of doing a march on Washington. The march was the brainchild of FreedomWorks' Brendan Steinhauser, who worked tirelessly for months to make it happen. NTU was a lead sponsor and pitched in with organizing, promoting, and facilitating hundreds of meetings between constituents and their Members of Congress.

It's funny to think back on those early planning meetings now, because we had all sorts of concerns that it might be tough to get a big turnout. At that point, it was distinctly possible that both the health care and cap-and-trade bills would have already been signed into law. Needless to say, that would blunt the momentum of a march like this pretty significantly.

Well, today that once-kooky idea became a reality. As somebody who was involved in the planning of the event, I can say that I was absolutely, positively blown away by the turnout of the event. At this early date, nobody knows for sure how many were there, but it's safe to say that it was well in the hundreds of thousands and might be into seven digits.

I arrived at Freedom Plaza, the starting point of the march, just before 7am. Folks were already gathering, even before the stage had been set up. The crowd quickly swelled to the point where the plaza appeared completely full to me. We had planned to start the program of speakers at 9am, but it was clear that we'd have to start early in order to accommodate an early launch time for the march. Otherwise, we'd overflow from Freedom Plaza and create all sorts of problems for ourselves with police authorities and permits.

We kicked off the speeches at about 8:15. NTU President Duane Parde was the first speaker of the day, and rallied the already-huge crowd to say "NO MORE" to bailouts, czars, debt, and the many other cancers our government faces today. By the time 9:30 rolled around, we were packed like sardines in Freedom Plaza and people appeared to be spilling over onto intersections and nearby streets. The crowd was so large that there were sections of people cheering to something said nearby to them, rather than the speaker on stage. Even the police officer in charge of everything was marveling at the size and energy of the crowd.

If memory serves, we got the word from police that we needed to move out around 10am. After wrapping up, we started directing everyone to march down Pennsylvania. Within 20 minutes, Pennsylvania was packed from sidewalk to sidewalk with marchers. What amazed me is that the crowds never seemed to stop coming! It makes sense, though, when you think that we weren't originally scheduled to begin marching until 11:30am.

I stayed in Freedom Plaza to direct crowds, and we started to get reports from the Capitol area that people were unable to access the Capitol lawn because of the huge numbers. It suddenly dawned on me that I was supposed to speak in about an hour, so I figured I'd better hoof it to the Capitol to make sure I could make it to the front.

I half speed-walked, half ran, doing my best to cut through what was basically wall-to-wall marchers on Pennsylvania Avenue. (For what it's worth, it was on the sidewalks of Pennsylvania Avenue that I saw most of the offensive signs). After arriving at the Capitol, I managed to snake my way to a police barricade (where I had to prove to a half-dozen people that I was actually a speaker) before making it to the stage area.

The view from the stage area was nothing short of breathtaking. There was a sea of people, surrounding the stage on all sides. From the podium, a speaker was surrounded 270 degrees by huge crowds. Not only was the west lawn filled, with people fully surrounding the reflecting pool and continuing to 3rd Street, but the sides of the stage were packed with people as well.

One thing to note, the reason why the rallyers don't fill up the Mall in the pictures is because we weren't allowed to. Our permit only allowed for us to fill up to 3rd Street, and there was another permitted event starting at 3rd on the Mall, so police were actively removing any of our people from that area. Instead, they were forced to surround the mall or spill up Pennsylvania and Maryland Avenues.

All of the speakers were similarly dumbstruck by the size of the crowd. The energy and enthusiasm was truly amazing. While waiting for my turn to speak, I witnessed one of the most amazing sights of my life: hundreds of thousands of Americans pledging allegiance to the flag waving high above the Capitol dome.

After speaking, I was luckily escorted up the barricaded Capitol steps by a Congressional staffer that I know as well as none other than Representative Bill Posey (R-FL) and his wife, who had come down to check things out. They walked us up the front steps, and he very graciously took a few photos of me with the crowd behind me. I don't think I'll ever see such a sight again.

As Brendan and I stood there at one point during the rally, he turned to me and said, while pointing to the enormous crowd, "This health care bill is dead." Let's hope that he's as right about that as he was about 9/12 being a success.

Thoughts?   Add Comment -

Nancy Sabater said on Sep 12 2009 at 9:57pm
It was truely amazing! I was so glad to have been a part of such an historical event.
To be surrounded by proud, educated, common sense and in some cases very well dressed people (lol) it was a real honor.
I am really looking forward to our GREEN TEA PARTY which will be taking place in Lafayette Park in D.C. only 2 weeks away on September 26!
We passed out flyers at the March On D.C. and had great responses from the crowd.
We need to put a stop on Cap & Trade as well as discussing so-called Global Warming issues - it's time for this Tea Party - it's time to stay involved!
Please join us!

Chris Cardiff said on Sep 13 2009 at 7:46am
Andrew, I was fortunately enough to sneak through a break in the barricade in order to reach the Capitol lawn so I could hear the speeches. You did a great job - and I loved your ending! You should have led the crowd in one more chorus :-)

Truly an amazing event - one to treasure for a lifetime. Thank you NTU!

Manuel said on Sep 13 2009 at 5:51pm
Now that the town halls are over, the tea parties have gotten attention, and many of us have marched to Washington people are wondering what we do next to ghet the message across that we will fight for democracy, the Conbstitution, and our nmation! The logical next step is to use the tool of the left and the socialist to really shake the Obamaistas, a general strike. Those of us, the taxpayers whose dollars support the politicians, pay for all those leftist social programs, those bailouts and those Acorn community activist need to remind them that our tax dollars make everything possible. Lets take a lesson from the left….on the first Monday in October, October 5th a general strike of all taxpayers. If you have a business close it that day. Use the day for village, town, and city hall meetings all over the nation. Show the members of Congress we do not need them to hold town hall meetings, we can and will meet without them. Lets remind them that Democracy is government that is responsible to the people, to us. We are the US in United States. If you have a job that is vital wear a green (color of our tax money) ribbon that day. Then at 11:30 am where ever you live, gather at your village, town, or city hall. No need to march to Washington just march to your town hall. Pass the word on blogs and on the internet. A general strike of all taxpayers on Monday, October 5th. In CA after prop 8 passed there was “A day without gays”. Two years ago several liberal groups sponsored “A day without immigrants”. Well this is the mother of all protest days, a day without the taxpayes!

Ken Dixon said on Sep 14 2009 at 10:14am
I created this video in honor of Saturday's march on Washington:


Charles said on Sep 17 2009 at 3:37pm
Not as big of a crowd as you profess, but indeed one of the largest groups of dumb-asses ever assembled in one place.

Publius said on Sep 18 2009 at 9:25am
Charles -- you kiss your momma with that mouth?

Joe Parker said on Sep 22 2009 at 2:01pm
Charles, Where do you get your information?
DC Police estmated over 1.2 million and several new agencies reported attrndance at 2 million. Even using the lower number, the 9/12 rally had a larger attendance than the "Million Man March" and the "Million Mom March" combined.

Walter Bramhall said on Sep 22 2009 at 2:03pm
You'll make a nice drone in the new collective

Teresa said on Sep 22 2009 at 2:18pm
A LARGER crowd than you profess - there were easily 1.5 MILLION there. And I was so proud to be among REAL Americans united together to take our country back. Thank you for doing your part and thank you for posting the pics!

1LT Los said on Sep 22 2009 at 3:02pm
Hi Charles happy that you are starting to wake up to the fact that Congress is the biggest group of dumb-asses collected in one place!! And count yourself among them if you voted for obumster. These 1.7million men and women who reject obumster and his sick unConstitutional form of governance that our nation has stomped out each time it rears its horrific head are American Patriots! You are in for a surprise pal!!
Socialism and obama? Not in America! Never!

Carol said on Sep 22 2009 at 3:03pm

That's it?? Dumb asses. Now that is certainly one intelligent and constructive comment. I bet it took you quite some time to compose.
When one feels threatened just use insults!

p.publius said on Sep 23 2009 at 2:28pm
Charlie, Charlie, Charlie... Comments like that are the refuge of the uneducated and those that have lost the argument. I was there and there were more than a few "tens of thousands"

Can you hear us, NOW?

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