Eastern WA family reflects on why they attended D.C. march Wednesday

SPOKANE, Wash.– An Eastern Washington family who chose to fly across the country during the pandemic to attend a pro-Trump rally said they were there to witness history and “support the USA.”

Peter Whittekiend is a history teacher and father. He, his wife, his father and two of his teenage children flew to D.C. earlier this week. They started Wednesday by attending a series of speeches, including one where President Donald Trump called on supporters to march to the U.S. Capitol.

“I knew it was going to be a historical moment that I didn’t want to miss,” Peter said.

The Whittekiends were among those who took to the streets to march. He and his family members took video along the way.

“I wasn’t at all fearful of anything that could harm our family. It was very peaceful, a lot of people chanting, a lot of flags,” Whittekiend said.

The march took the Whittekiends, and many others, to the foot of the Capitol steps. That’s where the Whittekiend family stopped their progress, while many others continued on, some violently breaking into the Capitol. One woman was shot to death. An officer died from injuries he sustained responding to the riot.

But, from where the Whittekiends stood, Peter said couldn’t see the violence for themselves. They didn’t know what was unfolding inside until they’d returned to their hotels and charged their phones.

Whittekiend didn’t condone the violence, but said it is important that people share their beliefs and are open to what other people think.

“I think one thing you can consider on how you sort this out is how we as people, when we communicate, how narrow our perspectives get based on our prior perspectives, teachings and how we, me included, don’t allow ourselves to see what people think,” Peter said.

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