“The clustered stars and the steadfast bars, the red, the white and the blue!” A couple hundred people turned out for the 24th Annual Happy Birthday America! God and Country Rally, June 28th at the Peninsula Christian Center. The pre-4th of July event has been held at various venues through the years from the Kenai and Soldotna auditoriums to various churches in the Central Peninsula with the purpose to honor those who have served and are serving so that an Independence Day may be observed in perpetuity. Organizers of the God & Country Rally included former Borough Mayor David Carey, who paid tribute through recorded music to all five branches of the military then having members of those branches and their family stand for an expression of appreciation.
Traveling from his home in Texas, Dr. Richard “Clayton” Trotter, General Counsel for The Justice Foundation held up a copy of the Dispatch and said, “I want to complement your town for honoring your hometown heroes, here is a story of U.S. Marine Matthew McDowell that I saw in the paper at the airport and I immediately knew I had a lot in common with you folks, our paper honors our local heroes as well and it’s what a newspaper should be reporting for its community,” he said. Trotter lost a son in the Iraq war and currently has another in military service.
“When I heard we were sending more troops back I told him I’d pray that he wouldn’t be deployed and he retorted, ‘Don’t do that Daddy! That’s what I’m trained to do, that’s my job,” he said. According to the program, “The God and Country Rally is designed to recognize God’s blessings on our country and honor all of our veterans. It is sponsored by the God and Country Rally committee, area churches and service organizations.” The committee includes Deacon Dave Carey, Pastor Jon Watson, Pastor Alan Humphries, Herb Stettler, and Elouise Minogue, administrative assistant for the function. According to Humphries big plans are in the works for the organizations 25th Anniversary God and Country celebration next year.