The visions of terrorists flying airplanes into the World Trade Center gave young Jody Ostrander many nightmares.
But now, when she sees an American flag, the 7-year-old knows she is safe. Standing by her mother under a shade tree on the Legislative lawn Monday, Ostrander wrote a postcard to troops serving in Iraq.
"I'm so proud of you! I hope you can come home soon. I feel sad about what's happening over there. Don't you? Please be safe over there," Ostrander wrote.
Ostrander finished her card and then stood at the streetside, waving the flag she got for her birthday to passing cars.
About 100 supporters, including families with young children, veterans and local officials, held a rally to support U.S. troops abroad Monday. A stream of traffic along Carson Street honked horns during the Memorial Day event.
The McCormick family took time out of their weekend to attend the rally, instead of camping or recreating, they said.
"I thought it was very important to show support for our troops," John McCormick said. "With everything they're giving up, a few hours on a holiday to come out here is a good thing to do."
Patty Pruett and P.J. Degross organized the rally as a way to offset recent negative news reports from Iraq and Afghanistan, they said. The group's aim was to enlist attendees to join committees or assist troops by helping put together personal hygiene gift boxes.
"We just decided to do this because we've heard enough of the negativism," Pruett said.
A banner, signed by event-goers, will be sent to troops with personal messages of encouragement. Leslie Evans, coordinator of a new Blue Star Mothers group organizing in the city, sat at a booth with a picture of her 19-year-old son, Henry, who is training as an Army Ranger. He is expected to be shipped to Iraq after training.
"It's scary, but also we're so proud of them," Evans said. "They're fighting a just war and they need to know that."
Michael's Cycles, Lowe's Home Improvement Center, Carson Station and Mings restaurant were a few of the local supporters, donating items and money for troops. The Piñon Plaza will send playing cards to the troops to ward off boredom, organizers said.
Contact Jill Lufrano at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1217.
Blue Star Mothers
Leslie Evans: 782-3168