The first stop on Move America Forward's nationwide caravan to Washington, D.C., outside Sen. Majority Leader Harry 'Choose-To-Lose' Reid's Nevada office was a huge success Monday, while a counter-protest supported by the national Democratic Party fizzled miserably.

Move America Forward personnel reported their Labor Day event drew hundreds of pro-troop supporters, while the counter-protest that had been widely publicized and supported by organizations including the national Democratic party, drew tens of anti-troop, terrorism supporters.

The MAF caravan is heading across country with stops in more than two dozen cities before reaching Washington, D.C, on Sept. 15. There MAF will join veterans and pro-troop forces who will stand vigil to protect our monuments, show support for victory in the War on Terror, and support Gen. David Petraeus who will be reporting to Congress on the military progress in Iraq.

Among the groups working on the D.C., event are Eagles Landing, Move America Forward, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Vets For Freedom, Gathering of Eagles, Free Republic and many others.

The Labor Day event in Carson City, Nevada, is remarkable on at least two fronts. First, that MAF was able to draw a decent sized crowd on the last holiday of summer when so many people are headed home or getting in one last day at the beach is a testament to the organizational skills of MAF personnel, and the validity of the pro-troop cause.

Speakers at the event included Buzz Patterson, author of War Crimes, Melanie Morgan, co-author with Catherine Moy of American Mourning, Gold Star Mom Debbie Lee, Blue Star Mom Deborah Johns, and Republican presidential candidate Duncan Hunter. By all accounts all gave truly inspiring speeches, and were very, very well received by the crowd.

The scene was repeated in Sacramento, after a trip through horrendous Labor Day traffic, and again in San Francisco.

The second remarkable facet of the event was the dearth of counter-protesters. The Sept. 15 gathering in Washington has been targeted by ANSWER a coalition of pro-communist, socialist, Islamo-fascist groups that rally around an anti-war theme but in reality are anti-democracy and anti-capitalism.

The ANSWER group has called for protests against the administration, surrender in the War on Terror, impeachment of the president and vice president, and some of its participating organizations are calling for renewed efforts to deface memorials in D.C., especially the Vietnam War Memorial - The Wall. Attempts were made to deface the memorials on March 17 but the first Gathering of Eagles pro-troop and pro-veteran vigil provided tens of thousands of veterans and supporters that effectively blocked ANSWER, headed at that time by Cindy Sheehan.

Considering the vehemence of the ANSWER forces, their hatred for the military and their intent to convince politicians to force a withdrawal from Iraq regardless of the military successes, it is surprising to say the least that they couldn't get more of a turnout in Nevada. To put this into perspective, the MAF rally specifically brought a message to Reid, who has declared the war lost, and the ongoing offensive in Iraq dubbed The Surge, a failure even before it got started.

Just about everyone else in the world who has had any opportunity whatsoever to objectively review the situation in Iraq disagrees with Reid, and his House of Representatives counterpart, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat.

Reid obviously was not happy with a pro-troop rally outside his home office, and wanted to show up the MAF forces with a vengeance. He failed, MAF succeeded.

I remarked back in the winter, prior to the Gathering of Eagles in March, that the numbers we attracted were less important than the message we were bringing to D.C. Our message then was that the Silent Majority would be silent no longer and would speak up for the troops, speak out against the pro-terrorism forces, and stand up to protect our monuments.

As it turned out, pro-troop forces in March vastly outnumbered the ANSWER demonstrators, even though many of the ANSWER protesters are paid in one form or another to protest, and the pro-troop forces were volunteers.

It is wonderful to see large numbers of pro-troop supporters, and we should continue to call for as many as possible to turn out either locally or nationally. But the message is still the key, which brings me to the second part of this essay.

Far too many Americans who should be standing up and speaking out are still far too silent. This includes many in both major political parties who depend on the veterans and pro-troop supporters to elect them. It is way past time for the fence-sitters to get down off the fence and take a stand.

Many people in this country have been living off the sacrifices of the troops, their supporters and their families for way too long, and taking for granted the many freedoms we are guaranteed by our Constitution. They seem to have forgotten that these freedoms are guaranteed only so long as we stand up for them and fight when necessary to keep them.

It is a sad truth that you can live in America, think only for yourself, pursue your lifestyle, education, and career objectives without ever contributing one scintilla of your time, your abilities or effort to the nation. It isn't required and since fewer than 10 percent of all living Americans have ever served in the military, it isn't even socially necessary to actually enlist and go away to defend our country.

But there should be a sense of moral obligation to at least put something into defending and preserving our form of government and our way of life. There should at least be a sense of conscience that this isn't a free ride, and if you aren't going to participate in keeping America strong, then you can at least show up and stand on a sidewalk waving an American flag for a few hours on one day to show the people who are doing the heavy lifting that you support them.

Far too many people are sitting on the fence, waiting to see which way the war will go before they declare they are supporting or opposing it. All the while they are going about their lives blithely unaware of just how much effort is going into giving them that sense of security.

September 15 would be a great time for Americans from all walks of life to take a few hours, go to D.C., stand on the sidewalk with the Eagles, wave a flag and let Congress know that we won't tolerate anything less than victory in the War on Terror.

I made the point many months ago, before the Surge started, before it was even announced, that if we gave the troops the support they needed to do the job they train for, they wouldn't let us down. Time has shown that to be absolutely true.

There may be political objectives still ahead in Iraq, but militarily, the job is getting done. President Bush went to Iraq for Labor Day and was so impressed with the progress made on the ground that he was able to at least broach the subject of troop withdrawals.

If you can't make it to D.C., at least check out the MAF website and see if the caravan will be coming to a community within driving distance. If so, go there and stand tall. If not, send a check, help pay for a tank of gas or a meal for one of the people who are taking so much time out of their lives to support our troops.

It is time to get off the fence and get on the bandwagon. When all is said and done and victory is secure, it will be far too late to suddenly start waving the flag. Fence sitters can't expect to reap the rewards of hard-fought victories if they don't take part in the effort.

Besides, the only consistent reward for consistently sitting on the fence is splinters in the ass.