Skip to comments.MARTINSBURG RALLY After Action report
Posted on 03/23/2003 6:00:42 AM PST by Xthe17th
"I am a small and precious child, my dad's been sent to fight. The only place I'll see his face, is in my dreams at night. ..."
- Excerpt from a peom read by Sherry Lewis, vice president of the 167th Airlift Wing's Family Readiness Group
Tim O'Neill and Stephanie Randlett, 6, on in his shoulders, wave flags at a rally to support U.S. troops, in Martinsburg Saturday evening. Stephanie's mother Tina Randlett is at left. (Journal photo by Emily Beightol)
'God bless America'
'About 200 attend rally for U.S. troops serving overseas'
MARTINSBURG - Standing with tears in her eyes as the sun set on a rally held in downtown Martinsburg supporting the troops overseas, a mother asked a poignent question. "If not usm who? If not now, when?" A thought perhaps on the minds of many of the 200 people who attended Saturday evening's event.
With the backdrop of a 20-by-50-foot Old Glory hoisted 60 feet above the road in the 100 block of East King Street, supporters held and waived the Stars and Stripes in an array of sizes.
Leaning on a cane in his left hand and waving a large American flag in his right, Roger Fazio stood in the center of the gathering and whipped up the crowd's sense of patriotic pride. "Everybody!" the Martinsburg man said before beginning a chant of "God Bless America!" Wearing a smaller American flag from his belt, Fazio said he stood firmly behind his commander in chief and was "100 percent for the war."
Those in the crowd held a number of homemade signs ranging from "God Bless Our Troops" to "We Love George Bush God Bless Him." Stephanie Grove held a sign reading "Support Our Troops in Iraqui Freedom" close to her heart. The 28 year old Martinsburg woman is a staff sergeant with the 167th Airlift Wing and has seen many of her friends in the unit recieve orders for deployment overseas. "It's time for America to come together as a whole and show our support," Grove said. Nearby, 10-year-old Janelle Carper waived a small flag in support of her cousin, a Marine stationed in Iraq.
Barbara Farrell and her husband, Pat, attended the rally because they wanted to show their support for their son, Lt. Col. Bill Farrell, who is a C-130 pilot with the local air guard deployed for the war effort. The couple said they talked with their son on the phone last Sunday and he told them he's been putting in 14 t0 18 hour days.
"USE, USA, USA!" the crowd hollered in unison as speakers - scheduled and unscheduled - took to a makeshift podium on the back of a flatbed truck.
Zephanie Custer read "Courage Truth and Justice - The Making of a Responsible Citizen," her sophomore essay which took top honors at the state's character education essay contest. "People, who live their lives by what the colors of our flag represent - courage, truth and justice - are who make responsible citizens to me," the 16-year-old Hedgesville High School student said. Custer explained that red stands for courage, white for truth, and blue for justice. "Our flag is a very visible sign of the pledge that we make to our country," she said. "Yet, often times, a responsible citizen is not easily spotted because he or she does not flaunt the colors that he or she displays. Many people live up to courage, truth or justice, but just as it takes all three colors to make our flag complete, it takes all three qualities to make a responsible citizen.
Brent Davison, 10th District Service Officer for the Department of the West Virginia American Legion, told the crowd that evil will not go away on its own, but that it must be driven out wherever it is. "By being here today, you are displaying your patriotism and support for our American fighting men and women," he said. "Don't be fooled, you don't display patriotism by constantly criticizing our nation and our elected leaders." "Let us all dedicate ourselves to making our feelings known. Let us do whatever possible to assist and send a positive message to our troops all over the world," Davidson said.
Jeff Becker of Gerrardstown, a veteran of the Ohio Air National Guard, told the crowd that 110 pro America rallies were being held across the country Saturday. He advised those who wanted to share their feeling of support for the troops should log onto www.freerepublic.com. He read a short statement from the web criticizing "communist led" anti-war demonstrations. A cry of "Hoo-Rah!" rang out throughout the crowd. Straight across from where Becker stood onstage, a sign read: "To Have Freedom We Must Also Defend It."
David Michael Myers took to the microphone and told the crowd that the president has shown courage in standing up to "left-wing communists" and war protesters.
Sherry Lewis, vice president of the 167th Airlift Wing's Family Readiness Group, told the crowd that she was not only a wife, daughter, sister, sister-in-law and aunt of military members serving in the United States Army and U.S. Air Force, but is a veteran who served in the Air National Guard for a decade. "I am well aware of the sacrifices made by our troops and their families," she said. "I urge all of you as good, patriotic American citizens to stand by all of the people serving our armed forces, prepared to give their lives for us and our future. Support our troops. They deserve all the support we can give them." Lewis helped end the rally by sharing a poem from an unknown author which she gleaned from a Toby Keith Web site. Keith is a country-western singer. It read in part:
"I am a small and precious child,
My dad's been sent to fight...
The only place I'll see his face,
Is in my dreams at night.
He will be gone too many days
For my young mind to keep track.
I may be sad, but I am proud.
My daddy's got your back."
FReepers in attendance Saturday were drgnwrks & son, zygoat & wife, Xthe17th,Harpers Ferry freeper (was that you yewbow?), and new freeper Jason. If I missed anyone, LMK. The Harpers Ferry Panhandle Chapter HAS PASSED IT'S INITIATION!!!
Good job! Eagles Up! 'Pod