The public is invited to the front gates at Camp Ripley, Friday, Oct. 12, from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. to show their support for American troops and veterans.
That day, those who gather are asked to wear red and bring with them an American flag if they can.
This “Red Friday Support Our Troops Rally” has not been planned by an official group or organization.
“It’s just local citizens gathering together to support our troops,” said Ken Oeschle, a local veteran.
Oeschle said there is no political agenda to the gathering. “We just want to show that the community and all the people that say ‘We Support Our Troops’ do support our troops,” he said. “It’s not a political statement for the war or against the war — it’s just to show the troops that they have support back here in their local community.”
It’s being held at the front gates of Camp Ripley because that seemed the natural choice, said Oeschle.
“I used to work at Camp Ripley, and I have friends out there that have mentioned that some of the other events that have gone on out there have left a bad taste in their mouths,” he said.
“I just want to show the other side of the coin,” he said. “It’s not about any one thing, just something to show the troops that they have support here — because it’s about more than just war or not war — it’s about all of the things our troops, National Guard and otherwise, do for us, like flood support, fire support, and all the other things that they do. They are part of our community and do a lot of things outside of their uniforms, too.”
Although it is asked that people who come wear red and bring an American flag, “Even if you can’t wear red or bring a flag, bring a ‘We Support Our Troops’ sign,” said Oeschle. “Everyone is welcome.”
Those who come may park in the Canteen parking lot, across from Camp Ripley’s main gates.