Hundreds gather for D.C. rally in support of Bush, Iraq war


September 26, 2005|By KNIGHT-RIDDER/TRIBUNE

WASHINGTON -- Iraq war veterans and families of soldiers who were killed in action gathered at the National Mall yesterday in a small but boisterous display of support for American troops and the war, hoping to use their voices, if not their numbers, to counter a weekend of anti-war protests in the capital.

Grieving but proud parents and wives joined wounded veterans on a stage within blocks of the U.S. Capitol to applaud President Bush and the 2 1/2 -year-old military mission in Iraq. They portrayed the war as an extension of the fight against terrorism and accused war protesters of hurting the morale of American soldiers.

The demonstration attracted about 400 supporters, a stark contrast to the tens of thousands of anti-war activists who assembled near the White House on Saturday.

Speaker after speaker yesterday called for the troops to remain in Iraq until democracy is established there and the insurgency is tamped down.

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