Saturday, July 25, 2009
The Real Alaska Speaks Out: Over 1,000 People Bid Sarah Palin Farewell During July 24th Picnic In Wasilla; Picnics In Anchorage And Fairbanks Next
Any stray residents of Salt Lake City caught in Wasilla, Alaska on July 24th may have thought they walked into a Pioneer Day celebration. Instead, it was the real Alaska speaking out on Sarah Palin, and showing up to bid her farewell at a picnic held in Wasilla. And the majority of attendees were enthusiastic about the Governor's appearance, and clearly wanted to wish her well. At least 1,000 or more are believed to have showed up for the picnic.
-- Anchorage Daily News collection of 41 photos available HERE.
-- KTUU news video directly accessible HERE.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner estimated the crowd size. The Anchorage Daily News, KTUU Channel 2, and KTVA Channel 11 (which leads to a Topix Forum thread) reported that event coordinators, who had planned on 5,000 attendees, roasted 4,008 hot dogs and had fixings for about 4,000 root-beer floats. By the last hour of the event, the dogs were almost gone.
Politico provides additional details. Palin addressed the audience gathered in a military “Honor Garden” that she wanted to “do something… more worthy than speaking politics” before sharing a story about a reporter who had asked her about how she handles difficult days. “I said, ‘Oh no,’ it is not a down day – my son called this week from Iraq,” Palin recalled, referring to her son, Track, an Army enlistee. “He is safe, he is sound. It is always a good day when my son calls.”
Palin then said: “I wish that some in the media would keep things like that in perspective, what is really important in our country. And what is important is our freedoms, America’s security, our liberty.” Later, citing military families that have lost loved ones, she again drew loud applause by saying: “Let us continue to love our country, be proud of our country, never apologize for our country.” She concluded her remarks by noting that it was the last time she’d appear in her hometown as governor, thanking the city that first elected her as mayor. Thanks to Conservatives4Palin, we have a YouTube video of Palin's speech, embedded below:
Most of the crowd was supportive, although some supporters still expressed disagreement with Palin's decision to resign. Fred Kostrick, an 84-year-old World War II veteran from Michigan who attended the event, said he appreciated Palin’s support of the military. “I think she’s one hell of a lady,” he said. “She’s tough, she stands her ground and she’s taken a lot of guff — more than I could.” That's an impressive endorsement, since, as a World War II vet, some of the "guff" he took probably included hostile fire.
Big Lake resident Wes Hamrick relayed his admiration for the governor and his dreams for the future in song. “In 2012, I’ll give you a hint. Alaska’s pit bull will be our president,” he sang in a tune titled “North to the Future.” At the end of the song, the Big Lake resident shouted: “Sarah Palin for president!”
There was some token opposition to Palin at the picnic, although they apparently chose to blend in rather than make spectacles of themselves. One teenage boy reportedly chanted Obama's name. While I might give him an "A" for courage, I would also give him a "D" in economics, since he's cheering for a president who is willing to risk spending the country into bankruptcy. Obamanomics is indeed "voodoo economics".
A sterner test of Palin's Alaskan support will occur during a picnic scheduled for the Delaney Park Strip in Anchorage on July 25th. Alaskan opposition to Palin tends to be centered in Anchorage and Juneau. It will be interesting to see what support Palin opponents muster at the Anchorage picnic. The strength of Palin's opposition is clearly over-exaggerated, but what they lack in numbers, they make up for in volume and organization. Preliminary reports on the Anchorage picnic now available HERE and HERE.
The grand finale picnic will be held in Fairbanks on July 26th, which is the actual day that Governor Palin's resignation takes effect and Sean Parnell takes over.