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CK rally shows solidarity with soldiers

Mary Rutherford, of Federal Way, holds up a sign with a photo of her daughter Miki who is a police officer with the Air Force.  Rutherford was one of an estimated 2,000 people who attended a “Support the Troops” rally Saturday in Silverdale. - Photo by Tracey Cooper
Mary Rutherford, of Federal Way, holds up a sign with a photo of her daughter Miki who is a police officer with the Air Force. Rutherford was one of an estimated 2,000 people who attended a “Support the Troops” rally Saturday in Silverdale.
— image credit: Photo by Tracey Cooper

Sandra Barton of Auburn joined thousands as they waved flags, held signs and rallied for the troops Saturday, Feb. 22 at the Kitsap Mall Boulevard overpass over SR 3.

As a mom of two Army reservists, Barton said she never felt more proud.

Her sons’ pictures were pasted to a large sign, which she held high. Nate and Chris, both with a chinook helicopter unit at Fort Lewis, are set to be shipped out to the Persian Gulf in the next couple of weeks.

“I’m really happy to see the support,” she said.

The Washington State Patrol estimated about 2,000 people attended the Support the Troops rally in Silverdale. The rally was held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., but people began lining the street at about 10:30 a.m. and stayed past 2 p.m.

Many supporters, like Barton had direct ties to the military. Barton’s friend Mary Rutherford, of Federal Way, held a sign with a photo of her daughter Miki who is a police officer with the Air Force.

“What more can I say,” as she pointed to her daughter’s picture to explain her reason for attending.

She and Barton have attended two of the rallies, which have become a weekly event. At each one the crowds have grown larger, she said.

“I’ve called (Miki) several times so she could hear it,” she said.

As cars pass by, horns blare, thumbs go up and people wave.

Jina Anderson, of Bremerton hired a babysitter to watch her four boys so she could attend the event. Her husband is a Operations Specialist second class on the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson. The Vinson went out for training operations Jan. 13, but has since been diverted to the waters around Japan.

“Before now I was feeling very unappreciated,” she said. Her oldest boy who is age 7 is afraid his dad isn’t coming home.

“I couldn’t be more proud than this,” she said. “It makes you tearful.”

The signs at the rally were inspirational “Land of the free because of the brave,” political “To hell with France,” and emotional “We support our daddies.”

Amanda Cummins of Gig Harbor brought her children to the rally because she wanted to support the troops and show her support for President Bush’s use of force in Iraq.

“As a million of these signs say, freedom isn’t free,” she said.

Cheryl Azevedo’s husband is serving on the USS Rainier in the Persian Gulf. She brought her son, who helped Sandy Pool hold up a Marine Corps throw, a Christmas gift from her son and daughter-in-law who are stationed in North Carolina.

“It’s great,” Pool said of the rally. “We don’t have to agree with everything our government does, but we should support the people who afford us the opportunity.”

Azevedo called the event a morale booster, which was evident by the smile on her face.

“I am so happy. All you hear on the news is negative. I hope (my husband) gets to see this,” she said.

Holding an American flag, Patrick Slowey of Silverdale stood quietly as the shouts and horns continued.

“I’m a loyal American and I support my president and the troops. I am also a vet,” he said were his reasons for attending his first rally.

“I love it. This is the first of many as far as I’m concerned,” Slowey said.

Jerry Davis of Poulsbo, retired after serving 22 years in the Navy. He stood with a group of fellow veterans on Saturday.

“I support our troops wherever they are. We’ve got to believe in them. We’ve got to support them no matter what they’re doing,” he said.

“It’s awesome, it’s overwhelming,” Davis said of the rally.

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