As Congress moved Wednesday to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election and name former Vice President Joe Biden as the next President of the United States, a horde of rioters descended upon the Capitol in the building’s first mass breach since the War of 1812.
These self-perceived patriots risked COVID-19, tear gas, and Washington traffic to stand up for conspiracy theory-fueled beliefs, wearing all manner of outfits befitting of men who once planned to join the Army but didn’t because “I would have punched a drill sergeant for getting in my face.”
As an attendee covering the National Guard, I remained in awe of the sartorial selections at the #StoptheSteal march. The clothes were more than just mere outfits. The mismatched camouflage from all eras of combat dating back to Vietnam, the red, white and blue dog tags, the flak jackets — all perfectly curated items that came together to serve as the official uniform of the surplus store Army.
This Colorado woman, for example, accented her ACU top with a Confederate patch in a move guaranteed to boost morale among her fellow surplus warriors. The minute details really pull the outfit together.
For some, vintage was the way to go. This Washington man’s faded Army green helmet is reminiscent of World War II. Nothing like a rusty metal headdress to remind us of simpler, better times in America.
An outfit belonging to a gun-toting rabble-rouser from Utah took a turn for the terrifying when he mixed a plate carrier with Proud Boy patches, Vietnam camo, and a knit face mask that says, “I’m not sure if it’s cold outside or I’m about to rob a bank.” And don’t forget about the shin guards sized for a youth baseball player. Stunning all around.
Still, my personal favorite was the modern-day Visigoth horned-man, who inevitably woke up Thursday morning and said, “Shirts? Where we’re going, we don’t need shirts.”
Who can argue with that? Despite the freezing weather, a top would really have taken away from the aesthetic Jake Angeli, AKA the “QAnon Shaman,” was going for. How else would we appreciate his stacked brick tattoos and giant, off-centered Mjölnir?
A true American hero.
Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digital Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.