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Rally in D.C. on steps of Lincoln Memorial not politically focused

August 28, 2010|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

Faith, hope and charity.

Not quite what a group of 660 people from the Tri-State area were expecting as the focus of a rally they attended Saturday in Washington, D.C.

"I think a lot of people thought it would be more political," said James Hawbaker of Greencastle, Pa. "Present-day politics often talks of transforming. This was about restoring."

Conservative radio and television personality Glenn Beck of Fox News hosted the "Restoring Honor" rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the 47th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech to honor American heroes, heritage and future, according to the event's website.

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A group of local residents who attended the rally reflected on the day, the message and its relevance at home.

As many as 200 people, many with diverse political views, joined Beck on the stage during the rally, said Tiffany Parkhouse of Torrington, Conn.

"I was pleasantly surprised," she said. "The unity and diversity was neat to me."

Speakers included King's niece Alveda King, who spoke of her uncle and his dream, Parkhouse said. Baseball star Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals also was recognized with a Hope award and spoke of his faith and charitable work, she said.

Parkhouse, originally from Greencastle, said the rally did not spread the partisan message Beck often spouts, but rather a message of faith, hope and charity that she felt all Americans could agree upon.

It's a message America needs to take to heart, Hawbaker said.

"Our nation in particular needs to go back to the issues and values that made it great," he said.

For Clear Spring dairy farmer Harold Carbaugh, living those values means prayer, denying himself as he engages in conversation with God. Similar prayer and fasting is what he said he believes the Founding Fathers did as they formed our nation.

Carbaugh said for years he has been praying for a revival in America, but on Saturday he realized that he also must play his part if change is ever to happen.

Hagerstown TEA Party organizer Neil Parrott, who with his wife, April, organized 12 buses that went to and from the rally, said what stuck in his memory was a call for reflection.

As he stood on the edge of the reflecting pool in Washington, Parrott said that call resonated with his pursuit of a seat in the Maryland General Assembly.

"For me it was the challenge to look inside," said Parrott, a Republican who is seeking the Subdistrict 2B seat in the Maryland House of Delegates. "If we are going to make this country better, we each have to change."

If elected, Parrott said he will feel doubly responsible to live a life that embodies the values advocated at the rally.

Those values are the roots of America, said Dennis Leatherman of Leitersburg.

"We need to return to our roots," he said.

Jeff Grills of Boonsboro said America is at a crossroads with the way our government functions.

"Our leaders don't lead, they command," he said.

America will start returning to those roots in November when the people choose who represents them in government, Hawbaker said.

"It definitely starts at the ballot box, or at least that is one of the places where it goes," said Parkhouse, building on Hawbaker's words.

As one of what Leatherman called the "silent majority," Parkhouse said the rally has given her the courage to stand up for what she believes, as clearly, she is not alone.

"There are thousands and thousands of other people on the same page as me," she said. "That gives me a lot of courage."

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