Pro-troops groups rally at capitol
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Pro-troops groups rally at capitol

Date: April 10, 2007
By: Sarah D. Wire
State Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Tears fell at the Capitol Tuesday as the names of the 77 Missourians who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003 were read at the ninth-annual Support Our Troops Rally. Some in the audience were related to the service men and women, others were veteran's who understood their sacrifice.

Senate Veteran's Affairs Committee chairman. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, said he did not have words to heal the families and loved one's of those who died but said, "the words I do have are sincere gratitude, sincere appreciation, sincere thanks."

The governor and lieutenant governor, spoke at the rally which coincided with the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Missouri Veterans Commission.

"Our whole purpose is to help veterans," said Bob Harvey, a Veteran's Commission benefit appeals specialist.

Gov. Matt Blunt said one way Missourians can show support for troops on active duty is by honoring the veteran's who have come before them. He marked the day by proclaiming it Missouri Veteran's Day.

Several veterans groups attended the rally including the Missouri Military Academy and the American Legion.

Paul Morin, the National Commander of the American Legion, called for people to follow President Bush and not pull out the troops or create a time-table for withdrawal. Morin said he was concerned if Americans lost faith in the war they would lose faith in the soldiers.

"If we let that happen then we'll see the same thing that happened to my generation in Vietnam," he said.  "As the leader of the largest veteran's organization, I will not stand by and let any individual disgrace those men and women."

The day was marked by a series of recognitions for veteran's in the state. In the House of Representatives, fifty-seven veterans were presented with a state proclamation describing their service to the country. The band and choir from Missouri Military Academy

"Today, the United States is the most prosperous, virtuous and important nation on earth, and it would not be so without our veterans and their sacrifice," Blunt said.