GW College Republicans rallied to support American troops abroad Sunday, holding signs and listening to speakers about national and local anti-terrorism efforts.
About 50 students, including members of the Student Association, Interfraternity Council, College Democrats and the Jewish Student Association, joined the CRs on Kogan Plaza.
CR Chair Shannon Flaherty said the rally was organized “to provide moral support for our troops here at home while they courageously serve their country after the cowardly attack on America two months ago.”
CRs around the country held rallies at 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time Sunday to counter anti-war demonstrations that have been organized on college campuses across the country.
“The students who have organized against the president and the troops abroad in no way represent the vast majority of the student body,” Flaherty said. “This Veterans Day we will see students across the country unite in support of our President and our troops who are risking their lives in defense of our great nation and the value it represents.”
Following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the College Republican National Committee proposed the “Rally for America” to the Republican National Committee and to the White House.
Freshman Kris Hart, who works for the CRNC national office in D.C., coordinated the rally for many CR chapters across the country.
Hart said the Bush administration provided $33,000 for the rally at 582 campuses. The funding went to flags and banners carrying patriotic slogans like “We support American troops defending liberty against terrorism.”
CRNC Executive Director Eric Hoplin, a 2001 University of Minnesota graduate, spoke to students about their generation’s responsibility of defending freedom.
“I think about my grandfather and my father. Both of them served their country in World War II and in Vietnam,” Hoplin said. “It is our time to rise to the occasion, and we are standing up across the country to say that we are proud patriots who support President Bush and the war effort.”
Following Hoplin’s remarks, D.C. Deputy Fire Chief Michael Smith took the podium and spoke about how the fire department has responded in the wake of the tragedy.
Smith assured students that “the Fire Department is working 24 hours a day, seven days a week to keep the public safe.” He also urged students at GW and other area universities to spread the word that “the terrorists have not defeated our capital and that D.C. is open for business.”