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The 2011 Summit recap: What you missed

November 10, 2011 J

The 2011 Defending The American Dream Summit was an amazing experience. If you were able to make it, great! We loved having you there. If not, you missed quite a time! Here’s a quick rundown for you of the Summit so you can get caught up on the weekend, which was marked by a series of great breakout session, speakers and protests from OccupyDC, which did their best to disrupt our weekend but were unsuccessful.

Friday, Nov. 4th
It was a beautiful, albeit cool, day in the District. The DC Convention Center was the scene of the Summit, just blocks north of the National Mall. Events started early in the morning, with breakout sessions up and going by 10am.

After lunch, things started heating up with the Opening Kickoff for the Summit. And what an opening it was! So many big names were on hand for our kickoff. Presidential contenders Mitt Romney and Herman Cain were a part of the action, as was Rudy Giuliani and Jonah Goldberg. Each gave stirring speeches and set the tone for the weekend.

After more breakout sessions in the afternoon, it was time for the big Tribute to Ronald Reagan dinner. This is our chance to pay tribute to one of America’s greatest presidents and one of our most visionary citizens ever. The dinner was marked by great keynote speeches by author Dinesh D’Souza and Fox News Channel analyst and legal scholar Judge Andrew Napolitano. Their remarks were thought-provoking and interesting, but not without disturbance. An OccupyDC protester managed to gain entry into the dinner and tried to disrupt the good judge’s remarks. It was only a momentary issue, but it was the first disturbance of the Summit. That same evening, another person had a vocal explosion in the foyer trying to disturb the event.

That was it for internal issues, but on the way out, Summit attendees had to be escorted to a side exit to avoid protesters, which had sealed off the main south entrance from the DC Convention Center. It turned out to be a non-event for AFP members, but their blocking of the doors was an attempt to mess up the evening. Luckily I can say they were unsuccessful in their quest.

Saturday, Nov. 5th
The next day, the Summit was back at full strength. The highlight of Saturday was the “Cut Spending Now!” rally, which took place at 10am and really got the day off to a fast start. It was a chance for every AFP member to stand up and demand Washington to cut the insane spending levels and start to curb this crushing debt we’re facing. The event was headlined by former California Senate candidate Carly Fiorina, BigGovernment.com’s Andrew Breitbart and nationally-syndicated radio host Mark Levin. It was an impressive slate of speakers and each brought their own important message with the flair and passion of conservative spending principles.

That afternoon, the last round of activist breakout sessions took place. And a couple of them were highlighted by controversial topics and big crowds.

The first one, entitled “Redemption – Two Ex-Liberals Come Clean” was a standing-room-only crowd that focused on the stories of these former liberals that had seen the light and come to support the conservative cause. This forum was moderated by Breitbart, who brought his unique take to the conversation.

That was followed by a session hosted by James O’Keefe, whom you might know from his undercover sting operations on ACORN. His presentation, “The Left Exposed – Where Investigative Journalism meets Online Activism” was an eye-opener and very lively. He talked about how he was able to infiltrate the corrupt ACORN apparatus and expose to the country the bad dealings that were taking place in their offices all over the country.

After that came the closing session of the Summit, but that wasn’t it for everyone.

Sun., Nov. 6th
A special add-on to the Summit weekend, the AFP trip to Gettysburg was a spectacular close to what was an amazing time in our national capital.

Starting out bright and early, we watched a video narrated by Morgan Freeman giving an overview of the three days of battle between the North and South armies. After that, we viewed the Cyclorama, a huge painting created by Paul Philippoteaux in the 1880s. Chiming in at 359 feet long and 27 feet high, the painting surrounds you as you walk into the special room where it is housed. And the special foreground that runs up to the painting really gives you the feeling that you are standing in the middle of the field where the historic “Pickett’s Charge” took place on July 3rd, 1863.

In the afternoon, our tour guide, AFP-Oklahoma activist Dan Fisher, gave us detailed accounts of the three-day battle with perspectives from both North and South armies. Highlights of the tour included Little Round Top and the “High Water Mark” point reached by the Confederacy in the Pickett’s Charge. As the sun set over the hills to the west, we were able to look out and get a feel for what the soldiers faced that day. It was a solemn moment to say the least.

There was so much there that it wasn’t able to be done in one day. But what a special trip it was! We were all amazed by how the history just oozed out at every turn. You could feel just how special the place was and still is. Gettysburg was a pivotal moment in the Civil War and seeing it in person was definitely an amazing moment to experience.

So there you have it. The 2011 Defending The American Dream Summit was an amazing time. Hopefully you enjoyed this year’s events. And if you didn’t go, there’s always next year and the 2012 Summit planning is already underway! So keep up with our updates for news on the next Summit!

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