From first-time attendees to decade-long friends in the conservative movement, all found something to enjoy at the Soiree – whether it was the petting zoo, face painting, and moon bounce for the kids or great food and barbeque, field games, and patriotic speeches, fun for all ages.
Cal Thomas, a conservative columnist and Fox News Watch panelist, delivered a moving keynote speech about the true meaning of independence, and how it must be fought for and defended by each generation.
The day’s other speakers continued on that theme.
“The ultimate meaning of the Fourth of July,” said Morton Blackwell, Leadership Institute president, “is the independence of the United States, which certainly is one of the great events in world history.”
In his speech to the audience, George Allen, former Virginia governor, said, “The spirit of our country is the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal and that we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness... And those are the enduring principles of our country that we need to rededicate ourselves to every Independence Day.”
Public figures and conservative leaders joined the Soiree celebrations, including Jim Gilmore, former Virginia governor; George Allen, former Virginia governor and senator; Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia Attorney General; and Pat Mullins, Virginia Republican Party chairman. (Note that the Leadership Institute does not endorse or oppose candidates for public office.)Southern California college student Maurice Lewis was especially inspired by the Soiree.
“This whole experience is giving such inspiration for my conservative newspaper,” said Maurice Lewis, a college student in southern California. He attended a Youth Leadership School at the Leadership Institute just three days later. “Great people on a great day with a great message.”
The soiree had many conservative organizations as partners.
Grand patron included 60 Plus Association, Americans for Prosperity Foundation, Fairfax Christian School, Generation Opportunity, Government Is Not God, Leadership Institute, Let Freedom Ring, Morgan, Meredith & Associates, National Right to Work Committee, Regent University, and the Washington Examiner.
Patrons included: Eagle Forum, The Family Foundation, Family Research Council, and Stephen Clouse & Associates.
Co-sponsors: Heritage Foundation, National Rifle Association, Science and Environmental Policy Project, Trimark Corporation, Restoration America 2012, and Young America’s Foundation.