Scores Rally at Lincoln Memorial

Posted August 28, 2010 at 2:47pm

Updated: 4:24 p.m.

Thousands of small-government advocates and anti-tax tea party activists gathered on the National Mall on Saturday for the “Restoring Honor” rally.

Organized and hosted by Fox News commentator Glenn Beck, the gathering brought people from all across the U.S. to honor American troops and the U.S. Constitution.

People were packed shoulder to shoulder from the Lincoln Memorial well past the World War II Memorial. Advocates dressed in red, white and blue waved American flags and flaunted T-shirts reading, “One nation under God,” “Support our troops,” or “I love capitalism.”

Although Beck said the gathering would be “nonpolitical,” a vast majority of those present were Republican supporters who said they believed in conservative values, including small government, limited taxes and a strong military.

“This administration is ignoring the Constitution,” said one female attendee from Annapolis, Md. “We don’t want ‘ObamaCare,’ we don’t want cap-and-trade, and we don’t want amnesty for the illegal immigrants.”

No lawmakers or Congressional candidates spoke at the event, but former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) made an appearance. Palin, the mother of an American soldier, introduced and told the stories of three service members who fought in Afghanistan, Iraq and Korea.

Beyond military mentions, religion was a frequent topic of discussion. Beck and other speakers often linked the pilgrims, the Founding Fathers and President Abraham Lincoln with the Old Testament’s Moses, who led his people from slavery in Egypt.

“America today begins to turn back to God,” Beck said, calling Americans the “chosen people.” “For too long, this country has wandered in darkness.”

One African-American pastor, who received a special recognition award from Beck, called attendees “warriors in Christ.” Another award recipient, St. Louis Cardinals baseball player Albert Pujols, spoke of his Christian faith as well.

Beck has drawn criticism from civil rights activists for hosting the event 47 years to the day and in the same location as Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

The vast number of people in attendance reflects the popularity of the tea party movement and dedication of its members and may give Democratic candidates a reason to worry.

“If this administration can’t look at this event and change, they will lose the House and Senate,” said one attendee, a tea party supporter from Charlotte, N.C. “If he ignores us, I guarantee that Obama will be a one-term president.”