A "We Support Our Troops" rally was held from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday at Reaney Park. Approximately 100 people attended, including four Army National Guardsmen and their families. Mayor Glenn Johnson and others came to speak and show support for the 81st Brigade that will deploy to Iraq this summer. "Roughly half (of the brigade) have been deployed before," National Guardsman Matthew Holt said.
National Guardsman Kyle White said he was excited about his first tour in Iraq. "We'll be there one year from mobilization," he said.
Rebecca Schwartz coordinated the rally with help from her sister Heather and father, Rod Schwartz, volunteers and local businesses. She chose to hold the rally on June 14 because it's also Flag Day.
"Today is the 231st anniversary of the stars and stripes – an especially appropriate day to show our support of the men and women who defend our nation and her flag," Schwartz said in her opening speech.
Nancy Grunewald of Pullman sang the national anthem and Rod Schwartz delivered the invocation.
Johnson was the first speaker at the rally. He thanked local National Guardsmen for their service and read the lyrics to "Ragged Old Flag," by Johnny Cash. Col. Douglas Salmon, a recently retired Air Force ROTC Commander at WSU and the University of Idaho, talked about his own experiences and the sacrifices military personnel make for their country. Volunteers organizing a local troop support group set up a stand for people to sign up to send care packages and letters to soldiers. There were also posters for people to write messages to the troops. The posters will be displayed in the National Guard Armory.
"Support Our Troops" bumper stickers and flags were free to the public. Dissmores' IGA donated refreshments for the rally.
"This has been a neat chance to support local troops," Schwartz said. "It's been very rewarding."
Monday, June 16, 2008
"Residents gather to support troops"
From today's Summer Evergreen: