The Persian Gulf war may be over, but groups demonstrating in support of U.S. troops say they will continue to meet as long as there are American soldiers in the gulf area. About 50 Utahns gathered on the steps of the Capitol Saturday afternoon.
"We still have men and women over there. Actually, with the fighting stopped, they'll need our support even more than before," said Richard Pyne, organizer of Troop Boosters. His organization has built a float that will appear in the St. Patrick's Day parade Saturday."The most important thing is that someone is here - that someone is caring," said Ann Deeben, organizer of the Saturday rallies. She says it's common for people to lose interest, but she'll continue to rally in support of the troops until all of them are home. Pyne agreed.
"I'll be on the steps every Saturday until the troops are home. I thought one voice could make a difference, and it has," Deeben said. "I wouldn't be disappointed if only two people showed up."
Darrel and Donna Palmer were among those in attendance. They have two sons in the gulf area, but one is coming home soon. Kurt, 27, a member of the 1st Marine Support Unit, is coming home, but his younger brother, Troy , 24, a member of the Red Dragon Helicopter Squad, will be there for a while, Darrel Palmer said.
"It's our way of dealing with it," Donna Palmer cited as her reason for attending, even after the conflict has ended. "We have to feel like we have some way to contribute." The soldiers had the courage to face the war and the unknown, and that makes them heros, she said.
"I think all of us are a lot more grateful for what we have," Donna Palmer said.
One Cub Scout was grateful for their efforts and walked to a microphone to thank those who fought in the gulf war.
"I'm glad the killing has stopped and the war is over," Dustin Grimnes said. "I'm just glad the American flag still waves." Dustin said he wasn't enthusiastic about the war at first, but his father helped him understand the reasons behind the fighting.
"The first time I heard (about the war), I had a spaz because that's the first time I'd been in a war, and I was afraid they would come over here and bomb us. Then my dad kind of talked to me and helped me understand. After that I just worried about the people over there and how Saddam Hussein would react to them," he said.
A group of Navajo Indians performed a song they had written in support of the troops appropriately titled "The Persian Gulf Song." It was performed in their native tongue. Lead singer Jimmy Reese said they wrote it in support of the troops. The group was also part of a Pow-Wow at the Indian Center all day Saturday to show support for the troops. Reese said he has a friend in the gulf.