Rallying for a Cause: Washington Parish Tea Party holds Tax Day rally

Published 11:27 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Members of the Washington Parish Tea Party gathered Monday near the flagpole and monument in the center of Franklinton for a Tax Day rally.

Beth Mizell thanked those in attendance at the noon event for their support and provided an update on national-level Tea Party developments. As part of a national campaign, the local Tea Party group and others were set to protest at their representative’s office on Tuesday, she said.

A petition and signed letters were hand delivered to Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office that day.

Debbie Dooley discussed the results of the April 6 vote on a proposed sales tax in Washington Parish. She is a coordinator at the national level of the Tea Party, a member of the Board of Directors of Tea Party Patriots, a resident of Atlanta and a native of Bogalusa.

She responded to comments from Parish President Richard Thomas in an article in the Sunday edition of The Daily News.

“It’s pretty clear the parish president is still clueless on what caused it to fail,” she said. “He said that voters need more education. And I can tell you that the reason this tax measure failed is because voters were educated on the issue and because the local Tea Party and activists did not just sit back. They fought it. So everyone here that helped fight this, you have reason to celebrate.”

Dooley discussed a tax proposal that was recently defeated in Atlanta and said she is proud both Washington Parish sales tax measures failed.

“You did an excellent job, but be prepared. They’re coming back,” she said.

She also said protests are scheduled at senators’ offices following their recent votes in support of gun control.

Guest speaker retired Col. Rob Maness, U.S. Air Force, a resident of St. Tammany Parish, discussed his experiences working in the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

“What it taught me is how important our Constitution is and how important it is to have citizens that are loyal to the Constitution, not a person, not a party and not a faction,” he said. “Because all citizens I saw that day and came in contact with pulled together, and for months and years after that.”

He worked on the Joint Chiefs of Staff in nuclear operations and was a major at the time.

Maness was on the phone with a teammate in Germany when the first airplane hit the first World Trade Center tower.

His friend in Europe had a TV in his office and described what he was seeing.

The aircraft that soon after hit the Pentagon stuck in an area that was under renovation and where fireproof material was being installed.

“When the airplane hit that, it basically collapsed in on itself, and there were very few people in it,” he said, discussing how not everyone had been moved back into the under-renovation area.

A peace time evacuation plan of the building was put into effect, with 22,000 people exiting the Pentagon.

Small core teams stayed in the command center to keep operations going, Maness said. His boss ordered him and his coworkers to evacuate. About 20 minutes later, air raids began, he said.

He and others assisted with moving and taking care of the wounded.

“As we went through the day and all this started to transpire, you started to see that every service that had been trained for all their lives started doing the things they were trained to do, because that’s what you do in a time of crisis,” he said.

The attack, he said, was carried out by a well-organized group that had intent to harm the country, “and that continue to do harm to this country.”

Maness was one of 75-100 volunteers who went back into the courtyard to help fight the fire and remove casualties. After making their way through the thick smoke, the volunteers were organized into teams, given various tasks and worked for the rest of the day.

Seeing the group of people that day, particularly the chaplains who provided encouragement, was inspiring, Maness said.

“As long as the Americans that I saw that day still exist, we’ll be OK,” he said. “That’s why what Debbie said to you all about the local level is so important. This can only be won from the grassroots up.”