Routt County shows support for troops

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— It was a simple gesture of support.

Rally organizers encouraged people who showed up on the Routt County Courthouse lawn Thursday evening to sign their name in support of President George Bush and U.S. troops in Iraq.

Organizers didn't have to wait long to see the kind of bold statement a simple gesture can make.

More than 200 signatures filled several sheets in less than an hour.

Moms and dads, children and grandparents waited in a line that stretched to the sidewalk to add their name to the list.

They waited amid a flurry of red, white and blue. People held flags in their hands and wore flags on their chests and carried a love for the flag in their hearts.

"It's so good to see the troops are supported," Harmon Buckland said. Buckland, an Air Force veteran, was heartened by what he saw.

He was thankful U.S. military personnel would not face the same cold reception that welcomed soldiers who returned from Vietnam.

"It's so much different," Buckland said.

Many rally participants had close ties with soldiers stationed at home and abroad.

Bob and Sherry Carter's nephew is serving in the Navy in the Persian Gulf area. The couple prays for his safe return. Sherry Carter says it's easy to feel removed from the war overseas, but Thursday's rally brought it home a little more.

The men and women who organized the rally thought it was time for Routt County to show its true colors.

"I know this is a very supportive county," Jim Hansen said. He and others were spurred to action after hearing the spouse of a gulf war veteran wonder out loud where the local supporters were.

"We're here to prove her wrong," he said.

The Yampa Valley Boys and other musicians served up a big helping of patriotic tunes. Many participants filled several boxes of canned goods for LIFT-UP.

Steamboat resident John Rezzonico played taps. Rezzonico, a former Marine and reservist, often is called to play at military funerals.

He had just returned Thursday from North Platte, Neb., where he played at the funeral of Marine Cpt. Travis Ford. Ford died in combat in Iraq a few weeks ago.

It was a sobering experience, Rezzonico said.

It also was a reminder to those at home to not forget the sacrifice of Ford and others like him.

Those who turned out Thursday night hadn't forgotten.

-- To reach Danie Harrelson call 871-4203

or e-mail dharrelson@steamboatpilot.com

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