‘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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