09 July 2007


Troop Rallies Held Across U.S.
Associated Press
July 09, 2007

OKLAHOMA CITY - With a son-in-law in Iraq and a son who served in Afghanistan, Kathy Johnston says she wants to make sure her five grandchildren know it's important to support U.S. troops, no matter how they feel about the war.
That's why she, her daughter and daughter-in-law took them Saturday afternoon to the Oklahoma version of Operation America Rising, a nationwide event touted as a nonpartisan way to express appreciation for the job that U.S. Soldiers are doing.
"Her husband wants to be here (at home)," Johnston said, motioning toward her daughter-in-law, Melissa Morning of Fort Bragg, N.C. "But he knows what he is doing is right.
"There is a lot of good going on over there, and we hear about it firsthand, even if the media doesn't report it," she added.
The rallies - some numbering in the hundreds, others with a handful in attendance - took place from California to Connecticut.
The Oklahoma event, held at State Capitol Park, included three speakers and six bands. All the participants offered their services for free, said Ren Schuffman, the lead singer for Oklahoma City band StoneWater and one of the event's organizers.
"It's not anti-war. It's not pro-war," Schuffman said. "It has nothing to do with war."
In New Hampshire, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and his rock band, Capitol Offense, entertained 600 to 700 people beforehand, event organizer Jennifer Horn said.
"Good people can disagree about policy and politics, but ... when we have children or neighbors or co-workers who are serving in active duty, we stand united behind them," Horn said. "We don't ever want there to be any misunderstanding that as Americans we are a united nation."
In Bristol, Conn., several hundred people milled under tents, ate picnic food and listened to bands on a school lawn. In Sacramento, Calif. about 600 people, including 16 military and veterans groups, gathered near the state Capitol, event organizers said.
Hundreds of motorcycle riders from a group of Harley-Davidson owners roared past the city hall in Dover, Del., carrying American flags.
At least 100 people gathered in Baton Rouge, La., next to the plaza where the battleship museum USS Kidd is docked. Organizer Janet Broussard described it as "speeches, music; just a good-time kind of get-together visit with our veterans."
The names of the 182 Pennsylvania service members who died fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan were read aloud to a silent crowd in Ford City, Pa. The Veterans of Foreign Wars honor guard then fired a 21-gun salute.
Speakers told the crowd that they can support the troops in tangible ways. Navy Warrant Officer Willie Grier, who served in Iraq, said troops look forward to getting packages containing everything from baby wipes and candy to paper and pens.
"Nothing goes wasted over there," Grier said. "If we do have an abundance of stuff, we'll give some of it to the Iraqis, the children. It's great for morale."
In Colorado, Douglas County sheriff's officials estimated 60 people attended a four-hour event at a park south of Denver, with musicians and speakers.
"One of best things about the event, even though it didn't turn out as big as I would've liked, is the people who were there were genuine and care more about supporting our troops and being there for others than they do about their own comforts," said Robyn Hill, 44.


mom&dadstoller said...

These rallies are news to us. True to form, they received no coverage on tv or in the local newspaper. It is long past time for these rallies in support of our troops. Bless the organizers.

Anonymous said...

Don't feel forgotten. You are not. Several of these rallies go on across the country, and even though most don't get press, the ones here in Allentown, PA are heavily attended by your supporters. Keep your faith in humanity and in Americans. Not everyone is stuck on the E channel...it just appears that way from the outside. Your country awaits your safe return and thanks you for every grain of sand you have had to digest. Be well in spirit as well as bone my friend, Laura (T-P)

Robert said...

As an organizer of OAR, are main problem was getting the media to cover us. We had plenty of coverage the day of the rally, however the mainstream media ignored us leading up to the rallies. We were still able to organize 26 rallies across the nation on 7/7. Hats Off to all who helped and supported our efforts. Plans are now underway for OAR's next mission. For questions email me at robert@operationamericarisingnc.com or go to www.operationamericarisingnc.com ... God Bless Our Troops!!!