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Pa. tea party draws a crowd

September 06, 2010|By JENNIFER FITCH
  • Donald Brown of McConnellsburg, Pa., left, talks Monday with Anthony Ciarlante from the newly forming Southcentral Pennsylvania Tea Party.
Photo by Jennifer Fitch,

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- A desire to "take back the country" was repeated often as what drew about 250 people to a tea party event Monday on Memorial Square.

"I think this is very important so the government, the people we put in office, realize we're not happy with the direction of the country," said Pamela Elliott of Chambersburg.

"We're losing the country," echoed her husband, Terry.

Speakers and music played on themes of patriotism and discontent with the nation's direction.

"The 'greatest generation' did not teach my generation what it means to be an American," said Jim Wyrick, secretary for Citizens for Responsible Government in Franklin County, Pa.

In his remarks to the crowd, Wyrick called the election this November the "most important election in modern American history."

"We are locked in a battle to define what America is," he said.

Monday's event was planned by the newly forming Southcentral Pennsylvania TEA Party.

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"Our country is under attack," speaker Steve Brenize said, saying problems need to be solved locally. "We need to take our power back."

Jon Baker, a member of the Shippensburg (Pa.) Borough Council along with Brenize, said the children and grandchildren of today's adults will pay for failed policies and out-of-control spending.

"Our generation is burdening the next with a destiny we cannot possibly imagine," Baker said.

From the platform, he said he was looking at "a crowd of true American patriots."

During his time at the microphone, Tuscarora School Board member Larry Funk criticized the media as being "incompetent" and "inaccurate."

"We fail to hold our leaders and newspapers accountable. ... (Reporters) are too lazy to use the right the First Amendment protects," he said.

Funk said there should be more media coverage of the meetings of the Franklin County Tax Collection Committee, which is comprised of representatives of county municipalities and school districts. That committee voted in August to select the Chambersburg Wage Tax Office as the collector of income taxes for all of Franklin County.

Chambersburg sisters Darlene Welsh and Carolyn Crotty said before the rally they were looking forward to hearing what the speakers said.

"I've been reading about it," Welsh said.

Terry Elliott, who wore a "R.I.P. The U.S. Constitution" shirt, attended a previous tea party event on Memorial Square. He said he'd tell a first-time attendee to come with an open mind and hear what is said.

Elliott, who said all members of Congress should be replaced, said he often thinks of the military members at war.

"They're fighting, giving their lives so that we can have a halfway-free nation," he said.

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