Pushing across the great American West, it was hard not to be impressed by the vast, flowering plains and the big skies of South Dakota. The traveling volunteers of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) discussed how receptive South Dakotans would be to their Restore America Campaign. The answer was affirmative. Nearly everyone they had met along the way was wholly supportive.
Even at a rest stop near the state capital of Pierre, volunteers struck up a conversation with the manager of the convenience store. The manager was excited to hear that this group of young men was one of many caravans visiting all fifty state capitals to pray for the nation. “I can’t believe you all are doing this!” she exclaimed. “Coffee and soda are on the house!”
When the dome of the capitol came into sight, the volunteers in the van wondered how many local Catholics would come out to pray the rosary. Given the small number of invitations sent, they did not expect anyone. However, as the red standard was raised and the “Pray for America’s Return to Order” banner was opened, people started showing up until a good group formed.
The capitol police instantly noticed the volunteers and approached with caution. Bracing for another anarchic protest, they said, “Oh, boy. Here we go.” Their apprehension soon turned to relief, as a TFP member handed them Saint Michael medals, patron of police. The Rosary rally was calm and peaceful as a warm, dry wind swept through the sleepy capital. Curious onlookers stopped on the street to observe.
The caravan then visited one of America’s most iconic landmarks, Mount Rushmore. Passing a few elk on the winding roads, the prominent bust of George Washington came into view, protruding from the white granite. The caravaners took their banner and bagpipes into the park and set up just above the first observation deck. The iconic proclamation resounded, “Tradition, Family, Property! America, America, America!”
The low murmur of the crowd fell silent and then suddenly erupted in applause and cheers. The bagpipers played “God Bless America. ” Soon, every visitor in the area was singing. When the Marine’s Hymn was played, several veterans and active servicemen came to attention and saluted.
Park rangers soon were “alerted” to the group’s presence, and ordered the bagpipes to be “stopped immediately,” because a permit was necessary. When the crowd received the disappointing news, the crowd booed. One veteran even quipped, “I bet if they were ANTIFA, they wouldn’t need a permit!”
However, the TFP volunteers politely complied, and soon after, people approached with questions, remarks, and acknowledgments. One vacationing Catholic family from Minneapolis, who follows the TFP Student Action You-Tube channel, was delighted to meet the organization’s members. In gratitude, the mother offered to assist with meals and lodging for part of the 50-capitals prayer tour.
As with every campaign, there was opposition, and Mount Rushmore was no exception. Debates with liberals began over what a return to order in America means in light of coronavirus and the riots. After piling back into the van, the caravan continued their travels through the rugged terrain, and as the skies slowly darkened, they rode into the sunset, pursuing the next campaign.