Amid A Red Sea Of Patriotism In Jacksonville

20,000 gathered at Cecil Airport for the “Great American Comeback” rally. With Air Force One as a backdrop, there was mob-like enthusiasm.

–Steve’s Marketplace —

Editor’s note: Contributing columnist, Steve Nicklas, expresses his views and insight on various topics in Marketplace.

A spectacular event in Jacksonville last week had all the elements – bright lights, big-city excitement, mob-like enthusiasm. 

It was not the Jaguars’ football game, even though it occurred the same night. This grand event took place at remote Cecil Airport on the westside, where 20,000 raving fans gathered for the “Great American Comeback” rally hosted by President Trump.  

It was truly a sight to behold. Especially when Air Force One pulled in, serving as a backdrop for the makeshift stage. These rallies are being held around the country as the kingpin of Trump’s re-election efforts. No wonder so many people come to them. 

It had the pleasant atmosphere of a carnival or an outdoor concert. No pushing. No hostility. Just a bunch of patriotic Americans rejoicing over a candidate that gives them real hope, and joy. Not the fictitious mantra of “hope and change” that a former president pedaled. That was more about change; this is more about hope. 

Local politicians gleefully attended. Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke, promoting his new message about fully opening the Florida economy. So did up-and-coming U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz and Jacksonville mayor Lenny Curry. But Trump was the headline.  

And he didn’t disappoint a fevered crowd in an hour-long speech. Trump highlighted his vast accomplishments over the past three years, took jabs at his political opponents, and delighted the crowd with his quick-witted humor. 

One woman wore a paper Statue of Liberty hat. But everyone wore smiles amid a red sea of patriotism. It was being with new friends, sharing the commonest of ground, a celebration of conservatism versus radicalism, positivism opposed to negativism. All in support of our beloved country. Outside the event, people happily sat in lawn chairs in a massive tailgate party, with a huge TV screen for them to watch. 

This was way more exciting than the Jags’ game. The Jaguars are losing team. This was about America as the winning team. Most of the local TV reporters gleefully recorded the event with their own phones, positioning themselves in their camera’s eye to prove they were there. It was simply remarkable, something Jacksonville needed right now (especially after the Republican National Convention was pulled from here).  

Of all the things I’ve done in my life, this will be one of the most memorable. And 20,000 others shared in the moment. Judging from their giddy, wide-eyed expressions, they felt the same way.  

Steve Nicklas Financial Advisor
Steve Nicklas


Steve Nicklas is a financial advisor for a major brokerage firm who lives and works on Amelia Island. He is also an award-winning columnist. His columns appear regularly in several newspapers in North Florida and South Georgia, and on his website: He has also published a book, “All About Money,” consisting of his favorite columns over the past 20 years. The book is available at local stores and on Amazon. He can be reached at 904-753-0236 or at [email protected].)