Saturday, March 10, 2007

"These Colors Don't Run"

Mark Crowley, center, hugs a supporter [*ahem*] after a rally to support U.S. troops. Wearing a t-shirt with an image of his son, killed while serving in Iraq, Crowley accepts dozens of flags to bring with him to Washington D.C

While uploading photos and videoclips from my Sony Cyber-shot, I decided to peruse the LA Times, to see if there was any mention of the KRLA-sponsored pro-troop caravan rally in Griffith Park, yesterday afternoon. I definitely took note (and a photo) of a Los Angeles Times photo-journalist (Spencer Weiner) talking to blue-star mom, Deborah Johns.

Discovering that there was indeed a mention of the pro-troop rally in Los Angeles, I was unprepared for the LA Times photo that accompanied the article: When I clicked on the "enlarge" button for the picture, I recognized not only the gold-star dad/patriot/veteran, but I also recognized "the moment" in the photo. That's because I was quite touched when, after having the honor of shaking Mark Crowley's hand and thanking him, Mr. Crowley reached around my neck to give me a heartfelt hug. Yes, the man on the left, buried in his grip, is none other than yours truly.

It's going to take me longer than I thought to post my impressions and photos; but I will get 'em done this weekend. I took a dozen too many pictures; and because of the size, they will be slow to upload (unless I resize them, which will also be time-consuming). I also have videoclips of what was said at the rally. I'll probably upload 'em to YouTube.

Stay-tuned, folks.

In the meanwhile, here's a cut-and-paste of the small LA Times piece:

Support the troops caravan makes stop at Griffith Park

The small group is heading to Washington D.C. to plant a "Flag City" to honor the troops.
By Valerie Reitman, Times Staff Writer
3:00 PM PST, March 9, 2007

A small caravan of military families in cars, trucks and motor homes gathered in Griffith Park at noon today to support the troops and to criticize politicians calling for withdrawal from Iraq.

About 100 supporters showed up to cheer on the dozen or so vehicles as they stopped for a brief rally in Los Angeles, the third stop on a nine-day tour across the United States.

Organized by the nonprofit Move America Forward, the group left San Francisco on Thursday, stopping earlier today in Bakersfield. They will move on to Palm Desert for a rally this evening, and plan to end their trip in Washington, D.C.

Debra Argel Bastian, of Lompoc, is traveling with the caravan. Her son, Capt. Derek Argel, was killed in Iraq, yet she still supports his decision to serve. She also said the United States needs to stay in Iraq to finish the job.

"These colors don't run," she said, referring to the theme of the caravan, which is collecting flags along each stop and plans to display them in Washington later this month.

The group collected several dozen flags of all sizes today from supporters, which they will use to create what they call a "Flag City."

Mark Crowley, of Tracy, is also traveling with the caravan. His son, Lance Cpl. Kyle D. Crowley, was killed in Iraq in April 2004 at age 18.

"It's not easy to outlive [your] children. Many have died for these colors," he said. And anyone who doesn't support the colors, he said, should get out of the country.

Also blogging:

YankeeMom posts her experience and photos at the pro-troop rally in Lafayette, California. More pix at Free Republic.

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Blogger Gayle said...

Wow! I'm really surprised that the LA Times printed that, Wordsmith, and a picture of you as well. Well, part of you anyway! ;)

I doubt if it will remain "a small caravan" for very long. I'm really looking forward to the coverage on this on the 17th.

Saturday, March 10, 2007 6:26:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Yes, I'm betting that the turnout for GOE will be huge.

Looks like the March 10th online edition was expanded overnight on the LA Times piece:

Caravan for U.S. troops shows colors
Military families and supporters in Move Forward America speak at Griffith Park en route to a rally next weekend in Washington, D.C.
By Valerie Reitman, Times Staff Writer
March 10, 2007

Kyle Crowley, an 18-year-old Marine, died in Iraq nearly three years ago. Stricken by stress and grief, his father, Mark Crowley, suffered a near-fatal heart attack about 17 months later, on the fourth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The elder Crowley, now 48, a sheet metal worker from the Northern California town of Tracy, wasn't healthy enough to return to work. He's been searching for meaning in his life ever since.

The one thing he's sure of, however, is that he doesn't want his son's life to have been lost in vain. That's why he joined a cross-country caravan of military families and supporters urging the U.S. to support the troops and criticizing politicians and antiwar activists for calling for troop withdrawal from Iraq before the job is done.

"Many have died for these colors," Crowley told supporters at Griffith Park on Friday as he held a U.S. flag. "If you don't support these colors, get the hell out."

The Los Angeles stop was one of two dozen rallies Crowley and others in the Move America Forward caravan will hold as they make their way to Washington, D.C., over the next eight days under the motto "These colors don't run."

About 100 supporters — including many veterans — added several dozen flags of all sizes to the caravan's collection, which the group plans to display in "a giant flag city of red, white and blue patriotism" on the National Mall next weekend.

Move America Forward is protesting the antiwar rallies planned for the fourth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The caravan includes two other California parents — Debra Argel Bastian of Lompoc, whose son died in Iraq, and Debbie Johns of Granite Bay, whose son is serving his third tour there.

In essence, they are part of the caravan's anti-Cindy Sheehan movement. They are trying to show the counterpoint to the growing public opposition to the war.

"Cindy Sheehan is yesterday's news," said Bastian, whose son, Capt. Derek Argel, a graduate of the Air Force Academy, was killed on Memorial Day 2005. Bastian and Johns say they honor the commitment and sacrifice of Sheehan's son, Casey, who was killed in Iraq, but deplore the way his mother has acted — camping outside the White House and President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, to protest.

The parents contend that partisan politics is hurting the military's efforts in Iraq. They denounced House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) as an "armchair general."

Crowley said his 24-year-old daughter disagrees with him about the war. But in his view, it's us or them. "If we don't finish it, they will. If we pull out or can't win, [the terrorists] will make Sept. 11 look like a bar fight. They're radical, and their only meaning is killing innocent people."

A former Army ranger, Crowley said he could shoot an elk at 600 yards with a single shot. He wishes he could trade his own life for his son's — or any of the other 3,000-plus troops who have died.

Kyle had a twin brother who died at 4 months, a victim of crib death. Crowley and Kyle's mother divorced while he was in college, and he raised Kyle mostly alone. "So God has given me two, and taken both back," Crowley said.

Saturday, March 10, 2007 7:46:00 AM  
Blogger Falling Panda said...

Wait a minute. I was there. There were well over 100 people in the crowd. What time did the LA Times Show up? 4pm?

Saturday, March 10, 2007 1:11:00 PM  
Blogger Kimberly said...

I am glad to see the event received some mention in the LA Times. That is progress. Hey Michael, you make a great "supporter".

Saturday, March 10, 2007 8:16:00 PM  
Blogger MonicaR said...

That is a great picture. Love it. What a story. I pray for that father - for all of the mothers and fathers who lost their very precious kids in this struggle against the crazy islamist bastards.

Take your time on the pics.

We just got that Sony Cyber Shot - it's really cool. We have been having problems with YouTube, though. We haven't been able to upload any of the videos. It's very frustrating.

Saturday, March 10, 2007 9:28:00 PM  
Blogger Mike's America said...

Looks like you were getting hugged by Uncle Sam.

Some people are embarrassed by overt displays of patriotism. I'm glad this guy isn't one of them.

Sunday, March 11, 2007 7:54:00 AM  
Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

You're famous!!!! Its nice to at least have a glimpse of you ;-)!!

Sunday, March 11, 2007 9:38:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

falling panda,

Thanks for the visit. I'm bad with numbers, but you could be right.


Now I know who you are! I thought you were "simplykimberly", but she seems to have taken a break from blogging. Plus she doesn't know my real name...unlike you! I think you're the first "real-world" friend of mine that's left a comment. I keep hoping my dad will read and leave some sign that he was here.


I love my camera. I think I have to take it in for repairs, though. Pixel burnout.

Hope you are able to upload to YouTube after this exciting weekend coming up.


I wasn't prepared for the unexpected hug, but it felt good, coming from him.

chatterbox....I think you missed a recent post of mine...

Thursday, March 15, 2007 2:11:00 AM  

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