‘Support troops’ rally planned

American Legion hosts gathering Saturday at Overlook Park

Two public gatherings regarding the war in Iraq are scheduled for Saturday at Overlook Memorial Park in Hood River.

American Legion Post commander Randy Leonard said an “informal” gathering is scheduled for noon Saturday at the park at Second and State streets.

“It’s basically a showing of support by veterans and veterans’ groups,” Leonard said. “But it is open to anyone.”

“It’s not a big flag waving jump-up-and-down kind of right and wrong thing, but to show that we as a unit show support for the people who are in harm’s way right now.”

Meanwhile, Columbia River Fellowship For Peace has announced a peace parade to start at 1 p.m. at the park. The group has been holding daily 5 p.m. vigils at the park since the war started March 19.

Leonard said planning for Saturday’s Legion-sponsored event came about after members suggested some kind of rally to support the troops.

“We’ve got troops in the Gorge who are in harm’s way,” he said. “Some of them are in the line (of fire) and our National Guard unit could be put in harm’s way at any time. We have a lot of National Guard troops in the state of Oregon who have been called up. We need to show support for all the people who are in uniform right now, and support for people in the paramilitary who are affected by this, the police and firefighters who have been activated.”

Leonard, a veteran of Vietnam, said, “In the past few days these young men and women have seen what the war is like and this is the time we should support them, for morale purposes more than anything else. I know there are a bunch of scared young men and women out there.”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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