Rally for American Troops in Staunton

By: Jarrod Aldom
By: Jarrod Aldom

You didn't have to go all the way to DC for a big rally for America today. There was one right here in Staunton. The rally there had two purposes. The first was to counteract anti-war protestors in the area. The other was to give families a place to come out and show their support.

"A couple of weeks ago the protestors down in the middle of Staunton stopped me and called me a baby killer," says Jan Harman, whose son and husband are in the military. "That really, really hurt."

Still, Harman says the support around town has been tremendous.

"We were in the woodwork," she says of the supporters. "I think waiting for just the reason to come out and show that we really do care, that apathy has not taken over."

Event organizer Lynn Mitchell agrees.

"It was time for us to speak up and let our soldiers know that we are behind them and what they were seeing on the news is not the way most Americans felt," she says.

Mitchell is a home-schooling mom. She came up with the idea of the rally just 10 days ago. With the help of some neighbors and by e-mailing all the residents of Staunton she could find, the event took off.

The rally brought people of all walks of life to the park, all united in the hope of a safe and soon return for the troops. But Harman cautions the most difficult times are still to come, especially for the Iraqi people.

"It's great that the war is winding down, but I think the hardest part is before us," confesses Harman. "These are people who've never known freedom in their lifetime. It's gong to be a long haul."

This is just one of 120 or so rallies like this that are going on across the country this weekend and next. Organizers had hoped for 200 people for the rally, but some estimates put the number at three to four hundred strong.

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