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Community to rally in support of uniformed personnel

With thousands of local servicemen and women deployed overseas as part of Operation Enduring Freedom and law enforcement, firefighters and postal workers doing their parts at home, Kitsap County will honor men and women in uniform with Rally Kitsap from 6-8 p.m. today at the Kitsap Pavilion.

The family-oriented event, according to organizers, is designed to solicit patriotism, community unity and courage in the face of terrorism and war through the use of music, testimonials and a candle-lighting ceremony.

“We wanted to dovetail this event with the National Day of Healing and Veterans Day,” said County Commissioner Tim Botkin, chairman of the event.

Botkin said the premise for Rally Kitsap came from Superintendent Cathy Davidson and spokesperson Jeanie Schulze of the Central Kitsap School District, who believed the county should sponsor an event to honor local service members.

A number of local bands and choirs are scheduled to take part, including the Klahowya Secondary School marching band and jazz choir, the Bremerton High School marching band, Kitsap Chordsman, Farragut Brass and the North Kitsap High School band. The Navy Civilian Men’s Quartet will sing the National Anthem.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and the event will conclude with a reception.

“It’s all coming together really well,” Botkin said.

He added that the program was being coordinated by Terrie O’Neill and Teresa Cochran from the commissioners’ office.

“We anticipate 300 or more people in uniform and 1,000 members from the community will attend this ceremony,” O’Neill said.

She said children also will participate by putting red, white and blue handprints on banners and inscribing messages to local service members.

“If there’s one message to come from this, it’s that people in our community needs to come and support these people for what they do,” Botkin said.

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