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Armed Forces Day Rally 5/17/2003
Operation Support Our Troops (link) called a rally for Armed Forces Day,
May 17th, 2003 in Puyallup, WA.
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
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
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)
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: