Dan O'Donnell's father-in-law was in attendance for Wednesday's rally and walked to the U.S. Capitol with hundreds of thousands of others. Here is his firsthand account of that day:
My wife, daughter and I decided to go to the Washington, DC rally at the last minute. We packed up our car with food, patriot gear, and our flag on a pole. Off we went on a short trip of a lifetime. We hit our hotel that night and received some great advice: Don’t drive in, take the Metro subway.
We got there and went up the escalator and saw all the people dressed in patriotic gear and with a ton of flags. We were blown away. Each stop filled the car with more patriots. When we got off, we got the feeling that the magic was soon to start.
We followed a bunch of people to eventually turn on Independence Avenue and, as we walked down the street we saw the Washington monument from a distance and thousands standing around it. No lie my wife was crying and my daughter and I had tears in our eyes. I knew this was going to be a special day.
We got a spot watching from a distance on a Jumbotron all the speeches and music for probably 4 to 5 hours. Walking around at times, we couldn't hear the speakers very well but we didn’t care. We were talking with wonderful people from all over the country, some with large families. Wow, there were people with walkers, canes, in wheelchairs, etc.
The weather was nasty, the wind was strong, and the skies were filled with eerily dark clouds. There was a sea of (I'm not exaggerating) tens of thousands of all kinds of flags. We waved our flag and took turns carrying it for hours. People around us were at times saying the Pledge of Allegiance and singing "The Star Spangled Banner" and "God Bless America."
We shared pictures with other people many times. It was magical. We drank hardly any water because even though there were 400,000 people in attendance, the mayor of Washington, DC made sure there were zero port-a-potties. People had to wait in long long lines for a few bathrooms and ended up having to go in the bushes.
We saw groups and families praying. I saw and heard a family in a huddle. The father was loud and one sentence was "God, please help our country. Please, please." He was actually screaming this prayer out. Emotional.
By the time President Trump came on, people were frozen and ready to go to the Capitol. Honestly, we had heard most of the speech before, so about halfway through people started to make the walk to the Capitol, which I guess was about mile away. Trump was great and thanked us numerous times for our support. He kept saying that Vice President Pence is kind of our last stand. At the end Trump said we will go to the Capitol.
We did not know stuff was hitting fan at the Capitol. Can you picture this? Two to three hundred thousand people walking off the giant field with tens of thousands of flags with Frank Sinatra's "My Way" blasting over the loudspeakers. That’s three to four Packer game crowds at once!
We carried ours with pride. I can’t possibly describe to you what that feeling was like. You had to be there. We funneled into two streets. We never all day saw any Black Lives Matter or Antifa radicals. We did see people in all black and camo with helmets. When you are in this mass of humanity it becomes kind of a blur. The walk to Capitol was long but our adrenaline was at a level that we could have walked from here to eternity. We did hear some loud booms approaching the Capitol. 300,000 people had no idea what had transpired on the inside.
As we got there we saw people trying to get up on the Capitol risers that were set up for the inauguration. Then as more capital police came out more people climbed and went up stairs with a lot of flags. Some gas was shot and police were trying to get under control. Eventually people took over and waved flags. Police just protected glass way on top. There were a couple people on loud speakers on risers saying non stop, "Come on patriots move up forward."
I think this drew a ton of the younger crowd to move forward. He did incite the crowd. We started hearing reports while we were standing there about shooting inside and violence. Hundreds of thousands of us did not know about the early fighting and what was going on inside.
A lot of this started on the other side of building. As we watched people they were cheering "Our house! This is our house!" and waving their flags. I know that maybe this is improper but I actually felt good. I think a lot of people felt this election was stolen and that the people inside that Capitol owe it to us to listen to the evidence. People felt their votes didn’t count. The government won’t stop to assure us that an election wasn’t stolen.
"This is our House," we were saying. "You won’t listen to us"
This was a way to let Vice President Pence know give us 10 days to put forward the evidence. After a few hours outside of the Capitol we decided that it was time to go home. We did all that we could do.
Sadly a few hundred people ruined a day that was in many ways a dream. The tragic death of a true patriot inside the Capitol was devastating, but the crowd outside was made up of the kindest, greatest Americans there are. They don’t deserve the hatchet job now being done by Democrats, the media, Big Tech, and a cowardly bunch of republicans.
The people who were there know the true story of what really happened for 99.99 percent of that day.