Twenty thousand people demonstrated their opposition "to violence as a means of political dissent" and their support for America's involvement in Vietnam at yesterday's "Wake Up America" rally at Government Center.
Featured speakers at the rally included Bob Hope, Al Capp, and Jim Nance, Boston Patriots' football star.
Hope delighted the crowd with jokes about Spiro Agnew and the air controllers' strike. "Spiro is quite a talker. He makes Hubert Humphrey look like Calvin Coolidge," Hope quipped and added. "When people play golf with the Vice-President, they take out medical insurance. Nixon's going to have him play Fullbright."
"We are winning the war, and I saw it with my own eyes," Hope said.
After Hope finished, the throngs began to dwindle until only several thousand remained for the concluding "God Bless America."
Cartoonist Al Capp's speech was generally serious. "I say offer peace, but if they keep shooting at us, let us shoot back," he said.
Nance told the crowd that "We are here to honor the boys in Vietnam, even though I feel they shouldn't be there."
Other speakers included General Bruce Clark, chairman of the Freedom Foundation in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, and Lewis Pearlstein, trustee of the Association of the Army.
A group of 50 anti-war demonstrators chanted and cat-called throughout the rally, but no physical clashes occurred between them and the ralliers.
Before the rally, a group of 7000 paraded to Government Center from Boston Common. Participants in the parade included police, veterans, Boy Scouts, YAF members, Shriners and several high school bands. Most of the parade participants did not remain for the rally.
Signs at the rally included: "Fight Communism Anywhere," "Victory in Vietnam," "Coexistence with Commun-ism is suicide for America." and "America. It isn't that bad."
The peace demonstrators retaliated with "Is Napalm Non-Violent" and "Stop the War and End Violence."
Organizers of Sunday's rally had predicted an attendance of 50,000. After the demonstration. Boston Police estimated attendance a 150,000. The Associated Press and United Press International each figured the crowd at 20,000.