We saw a different kind of rally this week on the state Capitol steps.

It wasn’t teachers skipping to school to insist that taxpayers give them raises. It wasn’t the Democrat-backed special interest group of the week protesting how much they hate Republicans the president.

Actual workers from the private sector, about 3,500 of them with families and friends, gathered to support keeping their jobs in the energy industry.

“These jobs are foundational to the strength of Colorado’s economy, and are worth celebrating and protecting,” Colorado Petroleum Council Executive Director Tracee Bentley said in a statement. “We are encouraged that so many Coloradans understand the importance of this industry and its contributions to the well-being of our great state.”

They weren’t holding signs demanding money. Instead, they were asking Coloradans to allow them to continue pouring $31 billion into our state economy and support nearly 230,000 jobs.

And yes, they wanted to send a message:

“As we face yet another attempt by anti-oil and natural gas activists to ban new development in Colorado, it’s incredible to see our employees stand together and fight for their industry, their livelihoods, and the jobs they need to keep food on their tables,” said COGA President and CEO Dan Haley.

Millennial activists are probably not aware of this, but America has been dependent upon foreign oil imports throughout our history, and it’s crippled our economy on more than one occasions.

The reason gas caps on vehicles are locked, is because times got so hard, gas was being siphoned out of automobiles parked in front of homes across the nation.

Today, we only import 15 percent, and Middle East countries can no longer hold our economy hostage to their whims.

And for that, we have to thank the thousands who stood on the capitol steps Thursday, begging to keep their jobs so they can keep America strong.