Support Our Troops Rally
Bellevue, WA
March 22nd, 2003

Members of the Puget Sound Chapter of FreeRepublic ( were among the many Pacific Northwesterners who turned out in Bellevue, Washington on March 22nd, rallying together to show their support and gratitude for the brave men and women in service now in Iraq and elsewhere. This was one of the largest (if not the largest) of such rallies yet in Washington state.  Despite relatively little advertisement beyond announcements on local talk radio shows and on the Internet (including FreeRepublic), many thousands of people showed up.  Seattle's KVI Radio (570 AM) was passing out "Support Our Troops" signs, and reported that over 7000 signs were distributed before they ran out. (3/23 update: official estimates have at least 5000 people attending)

The rally was scheduled for 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM but got off to an early start with hundreds already on the scene by 10:00, according to KVI afternoon talk show host John Carlson who along with morning talk show host Kirby Wilbur, was broadcasting live from the event.  (Even at 2:00, when KVI quit their broadcast from the event, the rally was still going strong.)  About 10:30 a group gathered near KVI's booth to sing patriotic songs, and it was already crowded on that corner.

Early arrivals were very glad to see this sign.
Larry Davidson (pictured), owner of Vida Grande, was more than happy to supply rally-goers with samples of his special coffees and teas.  There was no "French Roast" to be had on this day!

  The KVI booth was busy, busy, busy the whole time.  Kirby was scheduled to leave early, but couldn't get out.  (Trina, I can vouch for this!)

Here Kirby talks with a fan.

While John is on the air.

The crowd continued to grow and remained huge, despite people constantly arriving and departing.  It spread on both sides of the streets for a block in every direction.


As is always the case in a Support Our Troops rally, one of the overwhelming images is of Old Glory everywhere. In one case a flag appeared high over the crowd, carried aloft by a kite.

People with babies and flags were everywhere.

And many there were very proud to wave their flags.

(The sign reads:  "Troops in Iraq showing support 4 us. We need to show it to them")

There were the constant reminders of those currently in service, and in harm's way.  The family of USMC Lt. Cpl. Tyler G. Kelly of the 1st Tank Battalion turned out, as did others.

Other reminders were to be had.  This woman's sign reads " Employer: USMC / Age: 22  Rank: CPL / Husband and Father of 2 / Pay: $16,320 / Job Description: Keeping you and your children in safety / SUPPORT OUR TROOPS / THEY DON'T DO THIS FOR THE PAY OR BENEFITS."  So true.

During the rally one man was heard to say, "I'm a Vietnam vet -- and they never came out and supported me like this."  My own answer would be, "We are sorry, but it will never happen again!  The rise of the anti-American Left caught us by surprise then, but now we know them for what they are -- and this is in part why we are holding these rallies."

Our ralliers even wait for the signals before crossing the street (often flooding the crosswalk when they do):

All of which makes life for the police and security people on hand rather dull.  But they do appreciate it.

And what's a really without the signs?  Signs?  There were all sorts of signs to be seen!  There were signs to support our troops:

There were signs to thank our troops:

There were signs (and flags) from the Vietnamese here, who know better than most of us about living under tyranny (the flag is the flag of South Vietnam):

There were signs that delivered accusations (the last sign reads: "You're not just anti-war, you're anti-American! Saddam is the enemy, not Bush!"):

There were signs that expressed our love for our troops:

And there were signs of all other sorts, sometimes expressing a personal position (and the creator of the "War on Iraq" sign delighted in noting how he made this from a "No Iraq War" sign):

See pictures from other rallies.