I wish to acknowledge Dan Nims for his well-stated condemnation of the slanderous political cartoon that appeared in the U-B on Aug. 30. Jack Ohman may be an awarded syndicated cartoonist for The Oregonian but this particular work displays nothing less than gross ignorance. An apology should be in order.
How do I know? I was there during the entire event from 2:30 a.m. until it ended 12 hours later, having placed my folding chair less than a hundred yards from the stage in front of the Lincoln Memorial steps. I had driven there from Walla Walla -- 6,566 miles round trip. It was worth it. Parking on Constitution Avenue adjacent to the Washington Monument, I joined the quiet, elbow-to-elbow crowd forming in the dark at that early hour a few feet from the reflecting pool.
I'm a regularly-contributing member of the Special Operations Warriors Foundation that co-sponsored the Restoring Honor event. It provides college scholarships for the children of Marine, Navy, Army and Air Force special ops troops who are killed in combat. This was a part of the event which was slandered by Ohman and -- perhaps unwittingly -- by the Union-Bulletin.
There were no political signs. Beck had requested the event not be political and it wasn't. There especially were no signs mentioning (erroneously) that "Obama is a Muslim"; nor about Palin or Bachmann; and there were no pitchforks. What was there were hundreds of thousands of calm, smiling, often cheering American citizens honoring Beck's faith, hope and charity call and SOWF.
This gathering was the most polite and well-mannered large group of people I had ever seen. Many waved small American flags. I bent the rules by bringing a 3-by-5 foot U.S. cotton flag that I had carried, folded, all over the world from Beirut to Khartoum. It was the first time it had been unfurled, placed on a pole and waved. I couldn't fly it overseas due to Foreign Service protocols. But it flew in D.C.
Glenn Beck didn't scream. He spoke clearly about America's honorable traditions and history, including an extensive salute to Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. A part of that salute was a wonderful speech by Beck's friend, MLK's niece, Dr. Alveda King. Beck noted, correctly, that MLK didn't just speak for African-Americans, but for all Americans.
The Restoring Honor event was indeed honorable. Ohman's cartoon was not.