***Update: Heidi at Gathering of Eagles reports on the National Park Service estimate of the GoE turnout: 30,000 strong. The silent majority no more.***
***Update March 18, 2007 1:30am: The NYTimes lies…***
Pure bullcrap. Yup, the journalistic standard-bearers of the NYTimes relied on “several veterans of the antiwar movement” to give them crowd estimates of the Gathering of Eagles. It’s the domestic equivalent of MSMers relying on dubious Iraqi stringers to provide them with war coverage while they sit in their comfy Green Zone offices in D.C. and Manhattan.
***Update March 18, 2007, 7:30am: Compare and contrast…***
College student Leslie Grainger sent me this striking photo she took of a proud American at the GoE yesterday:
My name is Leslie Grainger, I met you earlier in the day today at the gathering of eagles ( I am the college student, that drove 12 hours from Massachusetts to go). The Vietnam veterans were abandoned by their generation, and they’ve always had to stand up for themselves, and on their own, I was there because I wanted to show the veterans that I love them and thank them for helping to ensure my freedom and safety. I was also there to show the veterans than I will not stand quietly, or look away (as their generation did) when our new veterans, and our troops are being disrespected. I think our effort today let the veterans of the past know that Americans will never let the disrespect or degradation of our troops go un-opposed again. I have been praying that one day the actions of the silent majority of America that supports the troops would speak louder than the cries of those who oppose them, and I think that happened today aswell.
I took a lot of photos but there is one in particular I think you’d like…It’s surely a photo the media, or liberals wouldnt like to see.
Now, here’s the GoE photo the Washington Post chose to spotlight:
Pictures that say a thousand words, no? As I wrote last night, “Having spent nearly 6 hours covering the event, I can tell you that the (com)Post cherry-picked one angry face out of thousands and thousands of proud, dignified, peaceful pro-victory, pro-troop participants. Typical of their selective photo bias. Just go back and look at how they cover illegal alien protesters and pro-life protesters. No surprises here.”
Tons more photos you won’t see in the WaPo or NYTimes over at our Hot Air Flickr album. A sample:
It was a breath-taking, historic, and emotional day in Washington, D.C. You won’t know it if you tune in to the usual MSM channels. But new media–bloggers, conservative documentarians, Internet activists, FReepers (giant thread here), citizen journalists, photojournalists, and talk radio hosts–turned out in full force to participate and cover the Gathering of Eagles counter-protest. Thousands upon thousands turned out despite freezing temperatures and hairy travel conditions. We met bikers who drove up all night from Huntsville, Alabama; a retired NYC firefighter who arrived here at 2am; college students who traveled from Massachusetts; a Vietnam veteran’s wife who bought plane tickets at the last minute from San Francisco; and countless participants who arrived as part of Move America Forward’s cross-country caravan.
A pure, grass-roots effort, the Gathering of Eagles’ volunteers matched the massive Soros-funded anti-war machine sign for sign, chant for chant, and marcher for marcher. The contrast was most stark right before the entrance to the Memorial Bridge, where Eagles gathered with a field of American flags–while anti-Bush, 9/11 conspiracy nuts wrapped themselves in a figurative blanket of yellow “Out of Iraq” placards. Several of the vets shouted, “Yellow! How appropriate!” in between spirited chants of “U.S.A! U.S.A!” While the classless Cindy Sheehan ranted profanely, the Eagles raised their voices in polite, but roaring disapproval and raised their American flags in answer to the ANSWER socialists’ Che banners and peace pennants.
Why did the Eagles come? One common refrain: Vietnam veterans, some fighting back tears, told us they came to show the kind of support for the troops that they did not receive when the surrender lobby marched on the Pentagon 40 years ago today.
E-mail or track back if you were there for a GoE blogburst.
We’ll have a full video report on Hot Air Monday (update: here it is) and more coverage to come. Here are a few photos I snapped with frozen fingers. I’ll upload the rest to the Hot Air Flickr page later tonight:
Early Saturday morning, Eagles line up to pay tribute to fallen heroes at the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial. Security officers screened every visitor in the white tent on the right.
Slapstick Politics covered the Denver moonbat protest.
Charles Ryder of Age of Hooper will have video of the Gathering up soon.
MKH has video.
Janet at SCSU Scholars observes:
My friend, Chris, and I were a bit worried about the turnout, but as we came down the hill from the Metro station and looked to our left, our concerns diminished rapidly. There were Vets everywhere, from all over the country.
Security for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was tight. Visitors could enter from one end only and exit at the other side. Everyone had to pass an electronic screening. The line was long but orderly.
For the demonstrations, The National Park Service had set locations for each side and patrolled the interim space constantly. There were no altercations that I saw. Some anti-war people tried to get to the Vets but they were asked to leave quickly and quietly – they did. It was apparent that the anti-US crowd did not expect a Veterans turnout of this size.
What will the media show? I don’t know but the line up of protesters walking to the Pentagon to protest will look long. What will be missing from the scene are the thousands of vets who lined the protest route and thousands more were on the other side of the grounds. Take all numbers with caution – my best guess, having walked back and forth multiple times is that the numbers were even at worst, Vets outnumbering protesters a bit at best.
I have just watched the “news” on Channel 4 in NBC in Washington DC. Their statement of “tens of thousands of protesters” is flat out wrong! More biased coverage – NBC never showed the number of vets other than the ones at the Wall. Thousands of Vets were everywhere. Perhaps NBC had to inflate the numbers because the crowd was so much smaller than expected. In addition, they had to revert to film from 1967 to show larger crowds. It also appears the “name” speakers didn’t arrive because only Cindy Sheehan was shown. ‘Tis a national disgrace when the media must enforce its anti-freedom agenda on the public.
In general, the anti- ____ crowd was comprised of naive and some very factually-challenged people. Signs with “data” were simply wrong.
The usual protest representatives were there: sixties hippies; their kids; ANSWER; Che Guevara; the pacifist and anti-fight for anything crowd. They were joined by another assortment of protesters: high school kids bussed in from Philly – they get extra credit in their US History classes if they participate in a protest (note, anti, not pro); a few who dressed like Palestinians and carried signs for the oppression of the Palestinians; “No war with Iran” crowd; impeach everyone crowd; anti-Halliburton; etc. These people are well-financed, signage is good.
On the other hand, the vets were proud, professional, and polite. Speakers summarized some real history – in particular, the real culprits for Vietnam casualties. One speaker, Kevin Michael of DC was particularly powerful! He is a Desert Storm Veteran and proud of it. He speaks well for all veterans.
After the protesters took their march to the Pentagon (who works there on a Saturday is beyond me) the Vets milled around, making sure key contacts will be maintained. An interesting side point: the grounds where the vets congregated were clean, no trash; the grounds where the protesters congregated – well, they apparently don’t know how to use trash cans.
Bryan Preston shares his thoughts on the astroturfed anti-war demonstrators and highlights an exclusive first-look at a new Move America Forward ad going national Monday. More at MAF here.
Old War Dogs posts rolling GOE coverage and after-action reports.
An e-mail that summed up the feelings of many vets we met:
I, a submarine force veteran from the Vietnam Era, was there with my Marine Corps Force Recon friend who fought in South Vietnam. As one speaker indicated, we have been quiet for 4 decades and now that congress is moving in the direction of abandoning Iraq as they did to South Vietnam, we will no longer remain silent. To me and others I talked with, this was a gathering that released the decades of disgust and personal anguish over our government’s abandonment of over 58,000 American men and women military personnel and those of our allies who died and the other hundreds of thousand who sacrificed to keep South Vietnam free from our mutual enemy. There was little talk of us not being held in high regard on our return, but open emotional displays of unity with those who shared our mission 40 years ago.
Whether or not it was recorded, we took the physical and moral high ground today, adjacent to the Lincoln Memorial, overlooking the ANSWER mob and displayed our greater strength with just a portion of our patriot warrior contingent. To those that I talked with over a 5 hour period from all over the United States and from our many military service and organizations, the consensus was that this is just the first shot across the bow of the anti-war and anti-American ANSWER and congress.
Alan M. Reasin
Uncle Jimbo at Blackfive reports on the Madison, WI moonbat convergence.
Robert C. Sampson drove 13 hours in hellish traffic from Connecticut on Friday to get to the Gathering of Eagles:
I am thrilled that I got the opportunity to go stand side by side with my patriot brothers and sisters today and I’m going to just briefly report the important facts you are not going to hear from the mainstream news outlets. I also strongly encourage you to visit some of my fellow bloggers who I am quite sure are going to elaborate on the event much more than I. Just since I’ve been back, I’ve been informed that CNN, C-Span and even Fox news made very little mention of the number of Eagles in attendance while they gave a lot of news coverage to the anti-war protesters…
…We stuck around to the end and helped pick up the thousands of flags donated and placed by the Eagles before us. It was my understanding that they are to be shipped to our fighting men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many were signed and I was quite moved at some of the supportive comments inscribed on them.
Overall, I think today was a turning point in a lot of ways. I heard someone say that they got the impression that the anti-war folks were blown away at the turnout of Eagles and in some ways it quieted their normally “in your face” tactics having us shouting back at them. Also, I think it[‘]s worth noting that some of the forces on our side have finally reached the conclusion that we need to show up for events like this. We are ignored by the liberal media at large and if we are going to make an impact in the two minutes of news the average Joe watches per day, we need to make some news ourselves. Let[‘]s hope the trend continues. I know I’m up for it.
Many Eagles asked why big-name conservative celebrities didn’t attend the rally. I have no idea. I can only tell you that I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Special thanks to the gals at Euphoric Reality for driving this event in the blogosphere.
Semper Gratus sends a pic of Eagles armed with a spit shield:
Mark Levin Fans were there and have posted a photo gallery.
Here’s the WaPo’s unfair and unbalanced coverage of GoE. Check out the feature photo they chose to represent the face of the Eagles. Having spent nearly 6 hours covering the event, I can tell you that the (com)Post cherry-picked one angry face out of thousands and thousands of proud, dignified, peaceful pro-victory, pro-troop participants. Typical of their selective photo bias. Just go back and look at how they cover illegal alien protesters and pro-life protesters.
No surprises here.
Baron Bodissey from Gates of Vienna was at GoE and has a terrific write-up, plus photos:
After a long walk down from the Metro station at Farragut West, I expected the area on the Mall around the Vietnam Memorial to be crowded with lefty demonstrators. But it wasn’t — apparently the moonbats like to sleep in. But the veterans were out in force; I saw a heartwarming combination of Rolling Thunder people, Patriot Guard Riders, and VFW representatives of various ages crowding their counter-demonstration area next to the memorial.
It was very cold and blustery with occasional snow showers, and the veterans’ area soon became a sea of icy mud. But that didn’t dampen the spirits of those who came to protect the memorial. I talked to people who had come in from California, New York, Florida, Texas, and many other places across the country.
The first veteran I talked to was a man named Kevin Gray, who was carrying a sign dissing Jane Fonda. Ms. Fonda is a frequent target of gibes and insults among vets — I heard one of the organizers announce over the PA system that the porta-johns were available along Constitution Avenue “for anyone who wants to take a Fonda or a Sheehan.”