MOUNT AIRY -- Outpourings of gratitude for Persian Gulf war troops have occurred in great number across the nation in recent days.
On Saturday in this South Carroll town, however, area troops turned the tables.
During a Flag Day ceremony intended as a show of thanks for Desert Storm troops, servicemen expressed their gratefulnessto citizens for standing by them in spirit during the gulf conflict.
"It wasn't a good situation for any of us (in the gulf), but because of your letters and your concern, we were able to get through it," said Marine 1st Lt. Kris Moxley, from Montgomery County.
FOR THE RECORD - Thomas Hattery, D-Carroll, Frederick, Howard, is a state delegate, not a Frederick County Commissioner.
"If we don't have support at home, we're nothing. You helped us win. Thank you."
On a sultry, sun-splashed morning, Mount Airy honored the area troops with a parade, followed by the ceremony the town carnival grounds.
Twelve troops from the area rode in the parade and were guests of honor during the ceremony, during which four servicemen made comments.
"Without your support, this coming home wouldn't be so great," Moxley said to the crowd.
Dozens of people gathered for the event, creating a scene that harkened back to February, when hundredsattended a support rally the town conducted while the war was raging.
Videotapes of that event were sent to the gulf for local troops,who said they were moved by the images of support. On Saturday, theyexpressed thanks for the tapes, as well as the hundreds of cards andletters citizens sent.
"Every bit of support we got helped motivate us," said Marine Lance Cpl. Richard Duafala of Mount Airy.
The troops said soldiers from other parts of the country who were servingin the gulf were awed by the mail their counterparts from South Carroll were receiving, particularly the videotape of the February rally.
Not only did Mount Airy's expressions of hometown support bolsterthe resolve of South Carroll troops, but they served to motivate other soldiers as well, said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Eugene Livermore.
"It was a really great pickup for everyone who didn't want to be wherethey were at the time," Livermore, a Mount Airy native, said.
In addition to the troops, Mount Airy elected officials, County Commissioners from Carroll and Frederick, state legislators, and U.S.
Representative Beverly B. Byron, D-6th, took part in the parade and ceremony to honor the troops.
"You've reinvigorated us," said FrederickCounty Commissioner Thomas Hattery. "You've shown us what we can do."
Before the 10 a.m. parade, the servicemen were treated to a coffee-and-doughnut reception at the town's VFW post.
After the Flag Day ceremony, the troops and their families were lunch guests at the Mount Airy American Legion.
On Saturday evening, the troops were given free tickets for rides and food at the annual Lion's Club Carnival, and were admitted an hour before the event opened to the public.