Armed Forces Day Rally 5/17/2003
Puyallup, WA

Operation Support Our Troops (link) called a rally for Armed Forces Day, May 17th, 2003 in Puyallup, WA.

It began with Boy Scouts Joseph Licon, Mathew Hallowell, Chad Edmonds and Carter Croft (left to right, first photo) presenting the colors, and proudly saluting for the Pledge of Allegiance.

This was followed by an invocation by Seattle Seahawks player and minister Mack Strong, who later spoke to the assembly.

A special feature of this rally was the predominance of veterans of so many wars, some which many ralliers were not old enough to remember.  But our gratitude was there, nonetheless.


A number of performers and speakers were on the agenda.  The event's master of ceremonies was KTTH 770 AM's David Boze; speakers included State Sen. Jim Kastama, and performers (patriotic music with "country" flair) Chuck Lawrence and bugler Jack Steidl, with a wonderful performance of "Amazing Grace."

Other speakers included Dr. Nguyen Vu Huy Tuong, a leader of the local Vietnamese-American community.  (Click on the picture to hear his two-minute speech beginning "On this day I am very proud to be an American..." -- on this day we are proud to have Americans like you.)(Note: audio doesn't seem to play right on some players -- this is under investigation) Dr. Nguyen Vu Huy Tuong

 And Mack Strong's mother Rose Strong, with a powerful address to the crowd (click on the picture to hear excerpts -- note: audio quality is downgraded for quicker download).

Americans born as Vietnamese were a prominent feature at this rally, some familiar faces from other Support Our Troops rallies as well as the South Vietnamese flag (yellow with three red stripes).  One heard, many times, about all the U.S. soldiers who gave their lives trying to make Vietnam free.  Especially poignant , though, were the messages signed to the banner to be sent to our troops overseas today, stating in one fashion or another that they are Vietnamese (by birth).

 This gentleman fought the Communists too, but today he is a proud American -- some of us are born American, some of us are naturalized, but unlike being, say, British, French, Russian or Chinese, being American is neither a fact of birth or race, it is a concept.

In such a rally, of course, there are signs (carried or worn), including the Wall of Honor featuring some of those from Washington who are currently in service, and a reminder of those who are fallen in service:

And of course, in such an event, there is the constant display of Red-White-and-Blue, coupled with the yellow ribbon for those far away from home: