A tale of two rallies: Sarah Palin drops in on Wasilla crowd and Anchorage honks in protest

09/11/2010 08:01 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

In Wasilla on Saturday, some 300 conservatives gathered to remember the 9/11 attacks. GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller was getting the attention. But then Sarah Palin showed up.

The crowd met at the Menard Sports Center, a hockey and soccer facility championed by Palin when she was mayor of Wasilla. It was organized by the Wasilla-based Conservative Patriots Group to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11.

At the start of the event, Miller, the Tea Party-backed Republican who recently bested U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the GOP primary thanks in part to Palin's endorsement, worked the room, pressing the flesh and chatting up the crowd.

"Joe Miller is a fine man -- not some hick out of the woods," said Stan Roach, the pastor of Independent Baptist Church of Anchorage, who attended the Wasilla rally. "Joe Miller is the caliber of man that should be in the White House." Roach also led the prayer at the start of the event. Before the prayer, he said, "We have cowards in the White House. We're afraid to say anymore that we're a Christian nation. Islam has stated they want to rule the world, and they are taking over."

But Miller and certainly Roach were overshadowed when, much to the delight and surprise of many, Palin showed, got on the stage, and asked the now-familiar, "Do you love your freedom?" question. The response indicated that yes, they did. And that wasn't the only thing they loved.

She then asked all military veterans to stand and led a round of huge applause before saying, "It's really, really good to be home, and tonight I think I'll see some of you at the Glenn Beck event."

Read more about this rally here.

As Alaska's Sarah Palin made a surprise appearance at a Sept. 11 rally in Wasilla, another rally was in the works protesting her upcoming appearance with Fox's Glenn Beck Saturday night in Anchorage.

The sign-waving crowd of about 80 to 100 people in downtown Anchorage waved at motorists to the return honks of support and, on occasion, a middle finger extended in their direction.

At about noon Saturday, rally organizer and longtime Alaska activist Desa Jacobsen had the crowd gather around the veterans memorial on the Anchorage Park Strip. She asked for two minutes of silence to honor those who died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Then she urged the crowd of about a hundred to sign a "blue ticket" to send Glenn Beck out of town -- reminiscent of how Alaska in its early history exiled undesirables.

"Don't be afraid to show yourself when you are standing up against hate and fear," she told the crowd.

Read more about this rally here.