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Community backs the troops

Community backs the troops
Community backs the troops
Mark Bezy of Depauw holds his son, Lowell, 4, and an American Flag while struggling with his emotions at the podium Sunday. (Photos by Randy West)

The men and women who served with the United States Armed Forces in the war with Iraq were honored Sunday at a 1-1/2-hour rally at the Hurley D. Conrad Memorial Bandstand on the square in Corydon. An estimated 200 people attended the program in near-perfect weather: blue sky, bright sunshine and mild temperature. Corydon Old Capitol VFW Post 2950 provided the color guard.
Vaughn Timberlake of Corydon, a helicopter pilot in Vietnam who retired from the U.S. Army as a lieutenant colonel after a 22-year career, was the main speaker. He talked about how crucial it is that U.S. servicemen and women know their communities back home are supporting their efforts 100 percent. He said he prays for their safety each day. He praised the U.S. military forces for waging the most successful U.S. military campaign since Desert Storm in 1991 and utterly shocking the Arab world with the ease with which they accomplished their goals.
The Rev. Webster Oglesby, pastor of Lincoln Hills Christian Church, led everyone in singing ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’ Oglesby also sang the Lee Greenwood classic, ‘God Bless the U.S.A.,’ and many sang along with him. He led the group in prayer for everyone involved in the war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan and the global war against terrorism plus the dead, the missing in action and prisoners of war.
The master of ceremonies was Marine veteran Paul Nelson of Corydon, whose son, Brett, is somewhere in Iraq. He subbed for Scott Fitzgerald, a WHAS-TV personality who had to cancel when the Kentucky Derby balloon race was rescheduled. Nelson and his wife, Debbie, organized the rally.
Nelson asked anyone there with a relative, loved one or friend in the military to raise their hand, stand up or step forward. All were invited to the microphone to tell something about their loved one and his or her status, and many came forward. Some held pictures of their loved ones.
Jody Arnold of Leavenworth and her extended family all wore T-shirts showing the face of her husband, Lt. Lloyd B. Arnold Jr., 29. He is believed to be somewhere in western Iraq or Jordan. The Arnolds’ three boys, twins Taten and Trenton, 2, and Tristan, 6, all wore fatigues and black berets.
Perhaps the most poignant moment was when Mark Bezy of Depauw, a big man in dark glasses, wearing blue overhauls and carrying his four-year-old son, Lowell, in one hand and a large American Flag in the other, came to the microphone to talk about his brother. Lt. Bernard Anthony Bezy, 42, is a Marine Corps chaplain believed to be with a tank brigade in Baghdad.
Mark Bezy couldn’t talk.
Eventually he did, saying, ‘Sorry for the emotions. We’re so proud of him. We don’t know what to say except, God bless America, and bring ’em home safe.’
Timberlake, a local banker and a forceful speaker who doesn’t pull his punches, is often asked to speak at Veterans Day and Memorial Day events. He said he never passes up an opportunity to speak out for men and women in uniform.
He said he is just plain tired of the Hollywood celebrities and certain members of the media who have probably never served in the armed forces and yet still use words like moron and idiot to describe President Bush. He said that kind of language casts a shadow on our country and our troops at a time when it should be every American’s responsibility to forget their differences, pull together for the country and support the troops. To do otherwise encourages the enemy, he said.
Timberlake, 61, also offered a glimpse into his personal life. As a small boy in Mauckport who often gazed at an old family photo that showed his dad in uniform, he knew then that he wanted to wear the uniform of the U.S. Army.
After the program, everyone was invited to eat pizza, fried chicken and submarine sandwiches provided by several local businesses. In several cases, people made important contacts with others who knew something about their servicemen and women or the units they are serving with.