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Pvt Long Memorial/Rally to Support Troops

At 4:00 pm Thursday, a crowd gathered at the scene of the first terror attack on US soil since 9/11 to pay tribute to Pvt. William Long and Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula.  Long was slain on June 1st by an American citizen who called himself Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, but was born Carlos Bledsoe, a name he used before he became a radical Islamic terrorist.

Though the mainstream media and government officials largely downplayed or ignored this heinous attack, Secure Arkansas sought to bring it to the public’s attention by organizing a rally to support the troops and honor the men who so unexpectedly became the latest casualties of the War on Terror.

The rally began with Ms. Jeannie Burlsworth, founder of Secure Arkansas, leading the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.  Ms. Cindra Bell then sang the Star Spangled Banner and Kime Eubanks offered a prayer for the murdered soldiers and their families, all American servicemen serving across the globe, and for our country’s safety in this time when our own soil is no longer a safe harbor from the hate-filled and violent radical Islamists who seek to destroy us.  Speakers included the local Army Recruiting Commander, Capt Mathew Feehan, Rex Roark of the Governor’s Commission for Veterans’ Affairs, Jim Porter, past Post Commander of VFW Post 10483, and State Representative Ed Garner.

Several men and women stood at the street holding signs (see photos below) to encourage others to stop and participate in the vigil.  Though I was standing in the parking lot and not close to the street, I couldn’t help but hear the screams of an angry woman taking issue with those of us present at the rally.  When I turned and looked toward the disturbance, I noticed a woman stopping her car on busy Rodney Parham Rd. in heavy traffic next to every person holding a sign.  She was leaning across the seat to shake her fist and scream something unintelligible from my distant vantage point.   However, the woman parked her car and stationed herself among those sign-carriers promoting the rally, but holding a small sign which proclaimed “Islam is Peace.”  She then began ranting about government involvement in 9/11, our “terrorist” actions in the war in Iraq, and that we were all brainwashed by the press which was complicit in some conspiracy with our government to wage war on Islam.  When I asked the woman if Bledsoe committed this atrocity in the name of Islam, she refused to answer.

 

Those attending were then invited to proceed to American Legion Post #1, where David Hall had stationed himself with his Traveling Liberty Bell.  All in attendance were asked to ring the bell in honor of Pvt. Long and donations were taken for the Wounded Warrior Project in Long’s name.

Special thanks to my daughter, Amanda, who attended the rally with me and served as my photographer and videographer.  She took the video above and some of her photos follow.

Memorial for Pvt William Long

Soldiers attending the rally

Members of the American Legion and VFW attended

Attendees’ signs

Islamic woman protests at rally.  (see video above)

You can view all the photos my daughter took at the rally here. I just realized the date was set wrong on her camera, so the date stamps on the photos are wrong.

June 5, 2009 Posted by | War on Terror | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Rally for Troops–Arkansas Pols Invited

President Obama’s silence on the senseless murder of 23-year-old Pvt William Long and shooting of Pvt Quinton Ezeagwula outside a Little Rock recruiting center has been well documented. ARRA News Service, Michelle Malkin, and The Conservative Pup have all written great articles wondering why Obama would immediately express his outrage at the murder of an abortion doctor one day, but completely ignore the murder of a young soldier just out of boot camp by an American citizen who recently converted to radical Islam.  Well, he finally acknowledged the slaying of this young soldier today.  He’s “deeply saddened by this senseless act of violence.”  That’s it, deeply saddened.  The killing of Dr. Tiller, who was well-known for performing late-term abortions, made him “shocked and outraged.”  But the murder of a young soldier simply saddens him.

Not that I condone the killing of Dr. Tiller, because I certainly don’t.  But how is it that the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces assigns such greater weight to his murder than that of a young man who signed over a portion his life to the service of these United States?  The only plausible explanation is that the President holds the prior in much higher regard than the latter.

Yesterday we learned the organization, Secure Arkansas, was putting together a rally to show support for our troops at the scene of the heinous crime against the two soldiers.  I spent this morning calling Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor and 2nd District Congressman Vic Snyder’s offices to inquire as to whether they wished to issue a public statement on the terrorist attack and if they planned on having someone from their offices attend the rally.  

Stunningly, none of these elected officials knew anything of the upcoming rally.  Even more stunning were the responses I received from Senator Pryor’s and Representative Snyder’s offices.  Pryor’s spokesman told me the Senator was still examining the information and would issue a statement once all the facts were known.  I was unable to reach Kelly Neal, to whom I was directed to find out if anyone from the Senator’s office would be attending the rally.  Snyder’s press secretary, Betsy Barrett said the Congressman had not yet issued a statement on the matter, but asked for more information on the rally.  I emailed her the requested information, but received no further response from his office. 

Senator Lincoln’s press secretary, Katie Niebaum, seemed much more concerned and far more helpful.  She assured me the Senator had the soldiers’ and their families in her thoughts and prayers and was praying for a speedy recovery for Pvt. Ezeagwula.  When I pressed further and asked if Senator Lincoln considered this a hate crime as defined in HR 1913, which was passed by the House and now is before the Senate Judiciary Committee, she promised to get back with me.  I also asked her to find out if the Senator thought an amendment should be added to name veterans as a protected class under the bill, such as that Congressman Rooney attempted while the bill was still in committee in the House.  Ms. Niebaum promptly responded with the following:

Hi John,

Thank you for your call this morning. Senator Lincoln takes seriously our country’s commitment to ensuring the physical safety of all Americans, and she has voted for the hate crimes bill (which has taken various forms) in past Congresses. The bill introduced this Congress is currently pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which Senator Lincoln is not a member. Senator Lincoln will thoughtfully consider all amendments to the bill if and when that debate moves to the Senate floor.

Senator Lincoln is grateful for all of our military service members and the sacrifices they and their families make to keep our nation free. Earlier today, she discussed the senseless tragedy in Little Rock with Arkansas news reporters, and said that her prayers were with the family and loved ones of Private Long and that she prayed for a full and speedy recovery for Private Ezeagwula.

Senator Lincoln has consistently supported initiatives that expand the benefits for our military service members and veterans and their families, and I encourage you to check out her website for her work as recent as last month:

http://www.lincoln.senate.gov/newsroom/2009-05-22-2.cfm
http://www.lincoln.senate.gov/newsroom/2009-05-22-1.cfm
http://www.lincoln.senate.gov/newsroom/2009-05-21-2.cfm
http://www.lincoln.senate.gov/newsroom/2009-05-20-2.cfm
http://www.lincoln.senate.gov/newsroom/2009-05-19-1.cfm
http://www.lincoln.senate.gov/newsroom/2009-05-18-1.cfm

In addition, the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States honored Senator Lincoln with the Sonny Montgomery Eagle Award last year for her “exceptional dedication and efforts to improve the status, welfare, and professionalism” of enlisted members of the National Guard.

http://lincoln.senate.gov/newsroom/2008-03-06-2.cfm

Thank you, John.

Katie

I would like to thank Ms. Niebaum for taking the time to respond to my concerns.  Though I didn’t get a yes or no on the issue of treating veterans as a protected class in the hate crimes legislation, at least she promised Lincoln’s thoughtful consideration if we can get such an amendment introduced.  I was also encouraged by Lincoln’s willingness to speak with reporters about the attack.  I was unable to reach the Senator’s assistant in Little Rock to ask if she would send someone to represent her office at the rally.

I’ll be attending the rally and will report on it in a subsequent post.

June 4, 2009 Posted by | War on Terror | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments