Hundreds rally behind fighting forces
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Wearing yellow ribbons on their shirts and patriotism on their sleeves, a group of more than 200 people gathered Monday to show support for American troops fighting overseas.
The rally was held at the Glenwood Springs-Garfield County civic plaza, starting at noon under sunny skies and lasting about a half-hour.
The flag-waving crowd stood under four large flags in the plaza and listened while local politicians and the parents of troops conveyed support for men and women serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places far from home.
As folks walked toward the rally, many were approached by a woman handing out free yellow ribbons and a rally program. Most took the ribbons and pinned them on proudly.
At least two people milled around the crowd with signs or symbols urging peace.
Most people attending the rally expressed strong messages of love and support for those fighting overseas.
“We’ve gathered together to rally around the flagpole today and to support our troops,” rally organizer and Garfield County Clerk Mildred Alsdorf said.
In reaction to the pro-peace messages, Garfield County Commissioner Larry McCown said, “I don’t think there’s anybody in this formation who’s not in favor of peace.”
The rally, he said, was “to show support for our troops.”
He said one reason the troops are fighting is to retain the right to hold such a rally.
Glenwood Springs City Councilman Don Gillespie said that before the conflict began, he was somewhat torn about the war.
“But now that we’ve made the commitment, there’s only one thing we should do: support the troops,” he said.
Parents and friends of military men and women spoke to the receptive crowd, giving short descriptions of where the military people are serving and how they got there.
“In many different countries, you can’t have a rally like this – they’ll cut their tongues out or gouge their eyes out,” the father of a U.S. Marine said.
Glenwood Springs resident Timothy Riley, a Vietnam War-era veteran, said, “The best way to support the troops is to bring them home.”
Holly Stephens, aide to 3rd District Congressman Scott McInnis, spoke on his behalf and for the American Legion.
After the speakers were finished, most of the people at the rally held hands and sang along with Glenwood Springs resident Ruthie Parrish as she sang “God Bless America.”
Afterwards, some shared their responses to the rally.
“I thought it was touching,” said Glenwood Springs resident Nicole Gray. “It made us realize the effect this has on us personally.”
Her friend, Desiree Carpenter of Silt, said the support rally was “very necessary.”
Glenwood Springs resident Terry Peckham said she attended the rally to represent her husband, a Vietnam veteran.
“He’s conflicted, but he’s still supporting the troops,” she said.
American Legion member Jerry Olp said although he was glad some people showed up, he was hoping for more.
“I would have liked to see 5,000,” he said. “It’s a worthwhile cause.”
Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario said out of more than 200 people at the rally, the two or three people expressing an anti-war stance was, he felt, “a fair representation of the community.”
From a police standpoint, Glenwood Springs police chief Terry Wilson said he thought the rally went well.
“Everyone came out to express their opinions in a calm manner,” he said. “This was meant to be to support the troops, not to politicize it.”
Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511
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