The interpretive staff of the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument reported to Historic City News that the St Augustine Tea Party will be holding a rally for up to 3000 participants on the west green on April 14 with speakers scheduled from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
The “Tea Party Tax Day Rally” has been issued a First Amendment Use permit for this free event; allowing use of an amplified public address system from a stage for speeches and patriotic music.
“The event will be staffed by the Town Criers and volunteers from a host of Florida Tea Parties and patriots from a dozen groups,” David Heimbold, a St Augustine Tea Party official, told reporters. “This is the time of the year when people who actually write out a check to the IRS express their exasperation at the runaway spending in Washington, D.C.”
Heimbold said that the “TEA” in Tea Party is an anagram that stands for “Taxed Enough Already”. “It is as simple as that,” Heimbold explained.
Lance Thate is the founder of the Town Criers; a committee of Tea Party members who distribute free pocket-sized copies of the US Constitution, in period costume, while parading downtown streets and the Plaza de la Constitucion carrying the familiar bright yellow Gadsden flag with the slogan “Don’t tread on me”.
The Castillo is prepared for the impact of the event, notifying its employees and volunteers that the crowd “will be loud and may impact our operations”. As a practical matter, “this also means that parking will be at a premium”, said staff.
The National Park Service, caretaker of the landmark fort, is neutral regarding the Tea Party and their message. “As federal employees and volunteers, we should not state our personal opinions about activities that occur under First Amendment special park uses,” a directive said. “We remain polite and professional to all who visit this site.”
“This is a grass roots rally. No frills,” Heimbold said, reporting that there would be 18 speakers sharing important information at the event. “Bring your patriotic spirit, your sign, a chair, sunscreen, bottled water and a desire to save your Nation from the progressives.”
Among rules that apply to rallies on the fort green, there will be no vendors or exchange of money. Nothing like beach umbrellas or flagpoles may be dug into the ground, because the National Monument is an archeological site.
Photo credits: © 2012 Historic City News contributed photograph by David Heimbold