From the June 2002 Idaho Observer:

1,000 celebrate Memorial Day at Patriot Lodge

Owner opens event as Patrick Henry: “Give me Liberty or...”

KALISPELL, Mont. -- An estimated 1,000 celebrated Memorial Day at the Patriot Lodge on the shores of beautiful Lake Mary Ronan 30 miles south of here. Some 225 pounds of pulled pork, hundreds of hotdogs and hamburgers and three kegs of beer were donated to help make the annual patriot potluck picnic a success.

The annual picnic, sponsored by pro-American radio station KYYX, “The Edge,” was hosted by the station's most outspoken patriotic personality John Stokes.

Stokes opened the festivities by calling for a prayer that was followed by Patriot Lodge Proprietor Gene Garrison's recitation of Patrick Henry's famous speech before the Congress in December 16, 1773. Garrison donned a powdered wig and a coat to deliver Henry's eloquent and timeless speech to the large, silent and attentive crowd.

Garrison is honored that his lodge would be the place where patriots gather each year to celebrate Memorial Day. He is also pleased that most of the people who come back to camp and enjoy the lake are like-minded. “I engage everyone who comes to the Lodge,” Garrison said. “It becomes obvious within moments where each of us stand on issues of freedom and liberty. Some people go away and never come back, but most keep coming back to stay with us.”

The lodge's tables have laminated Constitution placemats. The entrance to the lodge is unmistakenly patriotic and the men's bathroom has a UN flag decal affixed in a very strategic location.

(See page 11 of the June edition of The Idaho Observer for the full text of Henry's speech and an explanation as to why its content is relevant today).

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