The anniversary of the 9/11 attacks was scheduled to bring two groups of demonstrators to Washington, D.C. First there was the announcement of a “Million Muslim March,” which was eventually renamed the “Million American March Against Fear” by its organizers, the American Muslim Political Action Committee.
This led to the announcement of a counter-demonstration by bikers who wanted to honor the armed forces and the 9/11 dead, which they dubbed the “Two Million Bikers to D.C. Ride.” (I have to wonder if young people reading all this feel like they’re missing out on an inside joke, because there were never going to be “millions” of people involved in either event. For those too young to remember, this is all meant as either an homage to, or mockery of, Louis Farrakhan’s “Million Man March” in 1995, which also did not involve a million people.)
The bikers were denied the permits they requested from the National Park Service, which left them annoyed but undaunted, as reported by the Washington Times:
Officials with 2 Million Bikers to DC said that despite failing to secure a permit from the National Park Service, the ride through the D.C. area will happen ??? even if it takes all day.
???We apologize to D.C. residents, but they had plenty of time to help us with this rally,??? said Belinda Bee, national coordinator for the 2 Million Bikers to DC rally, referring to federal and local authorities. ???We realized there was going to be a lot of traffic. We would have gotten through town in two hours. For some reason the powers that be in D.C. no longer feel Americans have the right to voice an opinion.???
They managed a pretty spectacular turnout, estimated by organizers as over 75,000, although some who witnessed the ride say it was much larger. Some of the high-end estimates run into the hundreds of thousands. That’s especially impressive when you consider how many bikers probably stayed up late last night to watch the “Sons of Anarchy” premiere. This is my favorite of the pictures I’ve seen so far:
A stirring photo of the attendees standing for the Pledge of Allegiance:
Harold Murphy, a ride organizer from Pennsylvania, told Fox News: “The bikers themselves have a lot of pride. They’re very patriotic people. They take a bad rap a lot of times for being bikers, but bikers have good hearts, they’re honorable people, and they give you their word and their handshake and they’ll stick by it.”
Mike Belair, state ride coordinator for Ohio, predicted the event would be “the most patriotic display the country has ever seen.”
“We’re going to show support for the 9/11 victims and their families, for the police, fire, EMS, for tower workers, anyone who had family who had fallen ??? we’re going to show support for them.
“[Sept. 11] really hurt, but it brought America together. United we stand and divided we fall. We should never forget. Never. Even another 12 years from now, I’m sure there’s going to be another ride, and I’ll be going then.”
As for the Million Americans Against Fear march, it was… much smaller.
Attendance evidently ran into the dozens, although it was hard to pick the demonstrators out from counter-demonstrators and reporters covering the event, who may have outnumbered them. It didn’t help that the event was linked to anti-Semites and 9/11 conspiracy theorist lunatics.
Even if those associations had been concealed, there just isn’t much of an appetite to show up for a demonstration predicated on an insult, namely that America is gripped in some kind of irrational anti-Muslim hysteria that only placard-waving protesters can wake it from. Or that we all need to swallow our red pills and awaken to the hidden truth that Dick Cheney brought down the World Trade Center with a Wile E. Coyote dynamite plunger, while the Pentagon was hit by a Tomahawk cruise missile painted to look like a jetliner. Good thing it’s hard to hear that kind of idiocy over the roar of thousands of motorcycle engines!
Update: I didn’t see this photo until the morning after the Two Million Biker Ride, but I just had to add it: