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- Some came to show their support of Hilton Head Island's TEA Party; others to rally behind national and local representatives.
But many of those in attendance at the TEA Party's Independence Day Celebration on Sunday afternoon at Hilton Head Island High School's Visual and Performing Arts Center agreed on thing: They will continue to fight for liberty.
"I am here because our freedoms are under assault," Los Angeles-based writer and humorist Eric Golub told the crowd. "Never give up, never give in and don't back down from a fight."
About 100 area residents gathered at the high school to celebrate the country's birth and hear elected officials, local tea party organizers and other area speakers discuss their views on fiscal conservatism and limited government. The event was organized by about 30 local volunteers, said former state representative hopeful and Hilton Head TEA Party founder Kate Keep.
Keep's ongoing dismay over President Barack Obama's legislative agenda has kept her -- and other event attendees -- committed to expanding the group that came together in 2009.
Event speaker U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-West Columbia, praised local tea party groups and others across the country for rallying support for Republican and independent candidates in November.
"On a state and federal level, what a difference the tea party has made," he said. "You were successful right away. Next November, we have to work hard to elect a new president and a new senate."
As emcee of the three-hour event, Keep focused on what she said are the flaws in Obama's health care plan, among other items. She and other speakers also blasted the president on the federal deficit.
Among the day's other speakers were state Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort; Beaufort Tea Party organizer Ann Ubelis; Hannah Hudacek, a naturalized citizen who lived in Soviet-controlled Czechoslovakia; and Hilton Head resident Howard Rankin, a naturalized citizen from the United Kingdom.
Part-time Sun City Hilton Head residents Tom and Barbara McCann said they were eager to attend the event to learn about local political candidates. The couple, who also have a home in Maryland, say they aren't members of a tea party but were curious to see what organizers had to say.
"We like the politics down here. It's good to see Republicans winning here, which never happens in Maryland," Tom McCann said.
The couple said they admire local politicians, such as Tom Davis, who were willing to "make their positions known," despite liberal media bias, Barbara McCann said.
"We know what it's like to have a one-party state ... We're just fearful it will become a one-party country," she said.
For more on area tea party organizations, follow staff writers Tom Barton at twitter.com/EyeOnHiltonHead and Allison Stice at twitter.com/BlufftonBlogIP.