The Hoondok Hae Tour kick-off in Washington, DC on April 1 was a great success. Nearly 1200 seats were filled, with a few more people standing in the back by the time True Mother came to speak. The atmosphere was bright, positive, and without tension from beginning to end. Ministers, representatives of many ethnic communities, and key political figures attended, as well as many FFWPU members.
So many friends, close contacts and pre-blessed couples filled the lobby outside The Hyatt Regency Crystal City’s main ballroom during the 6:30 reception, the spirit was electric. An awards ceremony at 7:00 p.m. set the tone for the evening. In one corner of the lobby, guests gathered around a simple stage for the presentation of "Champion of Family and Community" awards. First, Principal Dewey Reeves of DC’s Eastern High School thanked True Mother for a gift offered to the school’s marching band after they performed during the WCSF III. Then 7 awardees were honored in the brief ceremony. These were:
Mrs. Hager stated that this was the most moving and inspiring award she had ever received. When she was leaving, she determined to work to recreate the same spirit of this event in her work with young people across the state of Virginia. Ms. Paschal told us that she was completely melted by the ceremony.
At 7:20 we adjourned to the ballroom, and a gospel quartet entertained onstage, drawing people into the room. This allowed us to have a musical uplift without lengthening the program. After Mike Jenkins introduction, the invocation was offered by Rev. William Bennett, Director of the DC Mayor’s office of Religious Affairs. His strong, heartfelt prayer while the audience held hands moved everyone.
Throughout the main program, the spirit was light even as it was deep. The audience warmed to True Mother, who was surrounded by a stage filled with flowers. Among the many VIPs in attendance were:
In addition to the Virginia Lieutenant Governor’s wife, the wife of DC Mayor Marion Barry attended briefly between other commitments, and had the chance to meet Mother as she was entering the hall. Cora Masters Barry was struck by Mother’s grace and beauty, and told her so. Afterward, she expressed the desire to invite Mother to lunch to connect more deeply.
After Mother’s talk, 2 significant awards were offered to her. Robin Read Brunelli, President of the National Foundation for Women Legislators, America’s oldest and largest association of women legislators, presented a plaque of appreciation (contents attached). Her husband, former Reagan administration official Sam Brunelli, joined her for the tribute. Rabbi Herzel Krantz, chairman of the American-Jewish Assembly, also provided a moving historical moment when he read another plaque’s tribute to Rev. and Mrs. Moon. Then sets of books called "Gathering for Reading and Learning" series were given by Mother to the following individuals / institutions:
Reverend Howard Matthews
Professor Gerald Brock
Mr. Andrew Sices, Student Representative
Dr. Lucinda Malone, Founder & President
Dr. Nicholas Kittrie, President
Dr. Abdul Alim Muhammad
National Spokesman for Min. Louis Farrakhan
Dr. Edward Harris, Vice-Chairman
At the celebration afterward, Mother was clearly happy, as were the many members, guests, and blessed children present. She had planned to leave 30 minutes after speaking, she remained with us for nearly two hours. Several ministers and VIPs stayed till the end. Dr. Alim and other key Nation of Islam leaders bowed to her as they left. They were melted by the warm, family atmosphere, as were Sam and Robin Brunelli. We were happy to help True Mother’s Tour in America begin with a strong victory.