Republicans rally in Krentzman to support troops

Republicans rally in Krentzman to support troops

By Marc Larocque

On a warm, peaceful day in Krenztman Quad, it was easy to see how students might forget about the ongoing fighting in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.

“Students get caught up in their own lives here, and we need reminders that this isn’t over and won’t be over for a long time,” said Jillian Mautte, a middler business major.

Students rallied to show their support and gratitude for the military last Thursday. Rock music was played to attract students walking by from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Students signed banners, sent letters to troops and got information on how to support service members.

“It is an all-volunteer military, so if people feel inclined, they’ll enlist,” said Curtis Bergh, who organized the event and is the former president of Northeastern’s College Republicans. “But what we are trying to do is to send encouragement to American troops all around the world.”

To the surprise of the College Republicans, the NU Democrats did not show up to participate in the event it had co-sponsored.

“A lot of people have other commitments,” said Heidi Buchanan, president of the NU Democrats.

However, Buchanan said the lack of attendance wasn’t focused solely on her organization. “There really wasn’t that many Republicans there, probably about six that I saw,” she said.

This rally for the troops was the first of this school year. Some members of the group said they believed a rally was especially important after recent on-campus protests against the Solomon Amendment, which requires universities to provide military recruiters access to campus.

“We needed this rally,” said David Barnett, a middler accounting and finance major. “It’s necessary after the protests about the Solomon [Amendment]. I think those protesters should be protesting Northeastern, not the recruiters.”

In addition to encouraging students to sign the banner, which Bergh said will be sent overseas to a unit in Iraq, the College Republicans handed out small American flags, Army bottles and elephant stickers. Ten feet to the right of the booth was a Northeastern Army ROTC booth with literature and information about getting involved in the military.

“This rally was a great idea, I just wish more people knew about it,” said Todd Cormier, a freshman journalism major. “I have a cousin in Iraq, so I’m behind the troops 100 percent and I’m looking forward to when they come home.”

Caitlin Kreitman, a freshman health science major, said she also has a personal connection to the war.

“I support them and pray for them every day and the work that they are doing,” Kreitman said. “My boyfriend is a sergeant in the Army Reserves and for that reason I would rather not see the war going on.”

Some of the College Republicans were weary of other students tarnishing the banner with comments the Republicans considered discouraging or inappropriate. An Army ROTC leader expressed concern about socialists showing up and disrespecting the rally.

Some of the comments written on the banner by passing by students said things like, “Rock out with your cock out,” with a little drawn heart next to it and “Yay for guns!”

With a little elbow grease, a marker and some nail polish remover, the word “cock” was changed to “glock.”

Despite these blemishes, most of the messages were considered encouraging by the rally organizers. Messages like, “Thank you for all your hard work, dedication, and sacrifice,” or “Stay safe, fight hard.”

“Some people support where they are, but some just support the individuals,” said Bergh. “The main thing is that we can come together and support our troops.”

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