NAPLES — Kathleen Sullivan made a sign, grabbed her beach chair and set herself up under a tree at Cambier Park in downtown Naples.
She was thrilled to be a part of the some 400 supporters of the Council for Constitutional Principles on Saturday afternoon.
Sullivan was patriotically dressed among the crowd of mostly Naples and Bonita Springs residents chanting, “U.S.A, U.S.A.” The crowd gathered to read the constitution and stand united with other like-minded individuals.
While the Yankee Doodle Dixieland Jazz Band played, she recounted the time she worked for President Ronald Reagan.
On Sunday, Reagan would have been 100 years old.
“He’d be horrified, he’d be leading the tea party,” she said, if Reagan was alive today. “I’m here to make sure the government gets rid of the phony health bill and return to the constitution Reagan fought for.”
Terri Parr of the Southwest Florida 9.12 Project, led the group in signing “Happy Birthday” in honor of the revered president.
Supporters enjoyed fresh “tea party special” iced-tea provided by CoEd Tea while singing along to “America the Great.”
“I’m an American. I believe in freedom and we are one nation under God,” Cathy Velund-Stucko said, who snuck away from her brother’s birthday party to attend the event. “I try to support freedom whenever I can.”
The new health care bill passed by the Obama administration was the most common conversation topic.
“I’m an American and I believe in the Constitution,” Mike Bonnough, 58 said. “I believe in capitalism and I believe the government right now doesn’t.”
Bonnough has been to rallies in Fort Myers, Naples and in Toledo, Ohio. He said he will continue to come until “our country changes course and becomes great again.”
The event kicked off with 16-year-old Palmetto Ridge student, Bianca Swilley singing the national anthem. Swilley has sang with the New York Yankees, the Detroit Tigers and the Florida Everblades.
With a fervent bellow of “ we celebrate today the Constitution of America” by Trey Radel, host of Day Break on the Fox News radio station 92.5 FM, the crowd waved their American flags, cheered and praised the United States of America and that tone continued until 3:30 p.m.
Matt Corrigan of Bonita Springs was at the event with his best friend, Joe, a Shih Tzu. He was dressed in a black shirt that had a glittery flag on it and read “Freedom Independence day. “
To him, the event was a success and even had some advice for the Obama administration.
“I think we are going down the drain unless we start cutting,” he said. “I’d do away with the EPA, they’re not helping the country, I’d close the Board of Education...and let the states take care of it.”