Monday, June 18 , 2018, 6:22 pm | Fair 68º


Alissa Jesle: I Went to Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor Rally

Joining hundreds of thousands of fellow Americans in the cause of freedom was an inspirational opportunity

It was like people were camping out for a concert. Blankets, coolers, lawn chairs, reading by flashlight. People had staked out their spaces 10 hours before an event. They weren’t there for Lady Gaga or Madonna. They were there for political rock stars Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin and Saturday’s Restoring Honor Rally in Washington, D.C.

Alissa Jesle
Alissa Jesle

Walking around the Lincoln Memorial at midnight and seeing people ready for a rally that wouldn’t start for 10 more hours floored me! I couldn’t believe people were already there. My friends and I debated about getting there around 4 a.m. to beat the Metro and bus traffic but sleep won out and we got to the rally an hour before it started.

The streets were crazy busy. People wore Restoring Honor T-shirts — Faith, Hope and Charity shirts with Sam Adams, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin under those respective titles. It was nice seeing the Founding Fathers making a comeback.

Faith, Hope and Charity are themes woven through Beck’s television show but at this rally Faith took center stage. It was about turning back to God who gives us our rights, not the government. Our Declaration of Independence says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Part of the Restoring Honor event was renewing faith in God or risk losing our liberties.

Three people were singled out for the values of Faith, Hope and Charity. The Rev. C.L. Jackson was presented with the Faith merit medal. Albert Pujols, the St. Louis Cardinals superstar introduced by manager Tony La Russa, was given the Hope merit medal. Receiving the Charity merit medal was philanthropist Jon Huntsman Sr., who has given billions of dollars to charities, including those for cancer research, domestic violence shelters and homeless shelters.

The Restoring Honor Rally was not political, but there was a general frustration over the current Congress and the Obama administration among the crowd and myself, especially with the continuing expansion of government, rising unemployment and ballooning debt. The rally was also not about Beck, Palin, Republicans, Democrats, or the Tea Party. This rally was about Honor. Period. Honor to our troops and veterans. Honor to our freedoms. Honor to God. Honor to the Constitution. Honor for our country.

The Lincoln Memorial area was packed. I met up with a friend from Minnesota and her friends. We weren’t near any JumboTrons or speakers but it didn’t matter. My friend and I walked within the crowd to see and hear the event. For me, it was about being part of a moment in history, gathering with people who want to restore America. The Restoring Honor event to me was a celebration of the freedoms and choices that are available to all of us, courtesy of our noble heroes. I don’t like crowds and yet there I was smack in the middle of between 300,000 and 600,000 people. But I wasn’t anxious. I was with people who weren’t angry but rejoicing in the day. The weather was perfect, the speeches were inspiring, and I had a goosebumps moment when I got to the top of the Memorial to look out across the National Mall. Talk about amazing! It was so awesome seeing such a massive group assembling peacefully. It was a moment when I felt so blessed to be an American.

An interesting thing about this event was there were no signs of any kind. NOT ONE SIGN! The crowd was made up families, couples, singles, old, young, black and white coming together to send a message to Washington, D.C., that we didn’t like that our country was going down a road that our Founding Fathers never intended for us to be on.

Although people focus on the fact that Beck organized the event and that Palin spoke at it, the rally was also sponsored by the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. SOWF is devoted to providing a college education to every child who has lost a parent while serving in Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps Special Operations during an operational or training mission. So while people rail against Beck, Palin and the event, it was also a way of honoring our military. From this rally alone, $5.5 million was raised, money that will go to SOWF and help those children whose parents made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and freedoms. (Click here to make a donation to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.)

Marcus Luttrell, a Navy Seal petty officer first class and Afghanistan War hero; James “Eddie” Wright, a retired Marine sergeant and Bronze Star recipient; and retired Air Force Col. Tom Kirk, Vietnam veteran and a prisoner of war for five years, were all greeted with chants of “USA, USA, USA!”

One Minnesota attendee told me, “I wish more Americans would honor our troops and military like this event.”

Palin said to the enthusiastic crowd, “Not fundamentally transform America as some would want but we must restore America and restore her honor.”

The Rev. Alveda King, niece of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., spoke about rebuilding and uniting America.

“We are united by one race, the human race,” she said. “We are one human family. We must not oppress each other but help those who are oppressed.”

Going to the Restoring Honor Event was a fantastic decision. I wanted to be part of a rally where I could stand among others who believe that America is the greatest nation on Earth, no apologies. I want children to live the lives they want without being a slave to the government or the federal debt.

I would say most of the crowd believed in God, and we prayed for those who served and are serving our country. A special mention to those who served in the Vietnam War brought applause and, as a daughter of a Marine who almost died fighting in Vietnam, it was especially touching.

There was a sense of patriotic camaraderie I felt that day. Looking over my video I’m happily astounded by the hundreds of thousands of people who came together waving their flags, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and singing the National Anthem. I have true hope for our country and the freedom to stand up for an America where government is not the answer to our problems.

My friend, Linda, said she “would like Glenn Beck to have this event every year.”

The people at the Restoring Honor Rally were so nice. They shared taxis with us. Complete strangers talked to me. They shared their bottled water and said “excuse me” and “thank you.” People picked up after themselves when the rally was over. I was amazed at the huge commitment so many people made to being at this event. I spoke with people from California, Florida, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Texas.

I attended this rally with Linda and her friends. I loved that I could hang out with people who I never met before, and have a fabulous time all because we were at a rally celebrating the greatness of America.

Restoring Honor was about individual responsibility, and not looking to the government to take care of us but helping those who are in need because we want to and believe it’s the right thing to do. It was not a negative rally about what’s wrong with America; it was about what’s possible for America.

For me, I believe in the greatness and exceptionalism of our country. I believe in our troops and veterans. I have faith that America’s best days are not behind her. I have hope that the phrase “We the People” will no longer be a slogan on a T-shirt or a talking point but a call to action, a new and improved way of governing regardless of political party. If this Restoring Honor Rally is any indication, I can see November from the Lincoln Memorial.

— Alissa Jesle is a Santa Barbara native, sports nut and former TV reporter.

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