Beck, Palin Rally the Faithful as Other Rallies Focus on MLK Jr. Legacy

They came looking for hope, for change, for like-minded people. They came because they didn’t want to be alone. They came because of a belief that “they” (the government, politicians, someone) is taking away their freedoms.

“Glenn Beck said this is about God, and not about politics,” said Jolynne Manon, of Hollidaysburg, Pa. “It’s mostly about not losing any more of our freedoms.”

Beck, the conservative talk show, host rallied thousands in front of the Lincoln Memorial Saturday while counter rallies protested his appearance in Washington on the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

The gathering had the feel of a family picnic. Most people interviewed by the NewsHour weren’t thrilled with anyone running for office. When asked who they saw as leaders of the movement, or who was doing or saying the right things, almost no one had specific people in mind, except for Beck and sometimes Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate.

“I’m not alone in questioning how things are being done,” said Julia Reath, who flew in from Colorado.

More kumbaya than political rally, the event drew the faithful from all corners of the country. Here are some of their stories:

Meanwhile across Washington at Dunbar High School, Al Sharpton led what was originally billed as a counter rally to Beck’s, as well as one to celebrate King. It concluded with a march to the site of the new MLK Jr. National Memorial site on the National Mall. Here is what was on the minds of some marchers:

Video production and editing by Crispin Lopez and Katherine Stevens, with additional video editing by Hari Sreenivasan.

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