Changing direction: Arby's rally turns impromptu memorial

When I showed up for the rally at the Forest Lake Arby's Saturday, February 1, I couldn't help thinking that it seemed kind of funereal, what with the gloomy skies and a big white tent. There weren't many people gathered, either, and I thought perhaps being late meant I'd missed the Libertarians' rally for the controversial "lowering" of the Arby's flag, which became hot news after a county clamp-down on signage.

Because I hadn't heard any news that morning, when I noticed a large banner with the words "Shuttle Columbia Memorial Service," I searched about for an explanation. Gary Westmoreland, chair of the local chapter of Libertarians, broke the news to me about the terrible tragedy of the Columbia disaster.

Out of respect for the seven astronauts who died that morning over Texas, the Libertarians decided to turn the rally into a memorial service, postponing their rally to a future date. On this day, solidarity and sorrow took precedence over property rights.

For more information about the local Libertarians' chapter and information about the rescheduled Arby's rally, visit