Boisterous tea party protesters, described by an event moderator as clinging to their guns and Bibles, rocked downtown Perrysburg on Independence Day, demanding that the federal government curb spending.
"Folks, we are seeing our foundations destroyed before our very eyes," Dr. William Zouhary of Rossford, the moderator, told the crowd of about 1,000 people.
His words drew yet another thunderous cheer of the kind that set off a few car alarms and scared away turkey vultures from the skies over Hood Park where the 70-minute rally was held.
"You are so congenial, clinging to your guns and Bibles. I can't believe it," the dentist said.
Many tea party participants, including some who excitedly jumped up and down, waved signs such as "Stop Obama & Congress," "It's Our Money!," "Stop the Spending," or "End the Federal Reserve."
Several people meandered through the crowd, flipping their signs from side to side to draw attention to their messages.
Ginny Bonnough of Toledo carried a sign shaped like a teacup. It read: "Anger is Brewing. I am not your ATM!"
Her daughter, Sarah Koehneke, 30, of Naples, Fla., who held her 18-month-old daughter, Adelae, made the sign for the event.
"I am here today because all this [government] debt will be on my baby's shoulders," said Ms. Koehneke, formerly of Toledo. "I want her to have an opportunity for success and freedom from government control, and freedom of religion. I think the more the government has control, the more they can take away from you, including the freedom of religion."
Other families, many with children, were sitting on the grass, picnicking and taking photos of each other, in contrast to the intensity of some of the sign-carrying protesters, who waved to passing motorists. Drivers leaned on their car horns to sound their support.
Carol Greenberg, an area gun activist who was one of several featured speakers, repeated her message from the Tax Day Tea Party held April 15 in International Park in Toledo, triggering thunderous applause and cheering.
"You might as well send the [U.S.] Constitution to Iran or China or Russia, because the people in D.C. aren't using it," Ms. Greenberg said.
The crowd responded to the message with cheering, "USA! USA! USA!"
As the rally wrapped up, Linda Bowyer of Perrysburg, an associate professor of finance at the University of Toledo, cautioned the protesters not to forget the history of the Weimar Republic.
To be able to pay its World War I debts in the 1920s, the Weimar Republic government resorted to printing money, unleashing hyperinflation that resulted in public discontent and eventually led to the election of Adolf Hitler as chancellor in 1933, she noted.
"Government spending eventually leads to rising interest rates," Ms. Bowyer said. "Inflation is a long-term effect."
The Perrysburg rally was one of many tea parties held across the country, including in Fremont and Defiance, on the Fourth of July.
About 400 people rallied on State Street on the east side of Fremont, up from about 100 on April 15, when the first tea party was held in the city, said organizer Marion Bower.
"I think people are scared to death of what's happening," she said, adding there were "1,486 tea parties" across the country yesterday. "That's a lot of angry communities."
Defiance drew about 300 people to Pontiac Park.
The organized events are drawing thousands of "tea party patriots," including many people who are concerned about high taxes and out-of-control growth in government spending.
The nonpartisan events cover topics including economics, the Constitution, and civil liberties.
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