Rally draws 150 to 200 supporters of the troops

People supporting American troops listened to patriotic speeches, prayed, said the Pledge of Allegiance and posted photos and notes on a wall Thursday in front of Superior Court in Kingman.

Flags flapped in the breeze as speaker after speaker to repeated applause offered tributes to the members of the armed services.

The rally drew 150 to 200 people, Kingman Police Capt.

Larry McGill said.

The rally started at 5 p.m.

and concluded around 6:40 p.m.

Streets leading to the courthouse were closed to traffic.

Like others at the rally, organizer George Hatchell has a family member – son Dammon – serving with the U.S.

military in the Persian Gulf.

"What I achieved tonight was a true unified Kingman supporting the troops regardless of where they served," Hatchell said afterward.

Hatchell, who has lived in Kingman since the age of 2 and works in the social services field, began the speeches by mentioning that he asked his son, a Marine, for permission to display Dammon's photo and release it to the media.

"He chose to be there and I want to support him," Hatchell said.


1, we are Americans and we should stick together."

Hatchell urged participants to take a moment of silence, marked by a recording of bagpipes, to honor those members of the military who lost their lives in the Iraq war.

Nobody mentioned the ambush-related death of Army Spc.

James Kiehl, whose mother, Carol Howland, lives in Kingman.

Hatchell then introduced four dignitaries who took turns speaking: retiring Police Chief Larry Butler, state Rep.

Joe Hart, R-Kingman, Kingman Mayor Les Byram and District 1 County Supervisor Pete Byers of Kingman.

"I brought my silent partner," Butler said, referring to a near life-size cutout of Uncle Sam.

Butler displayed the front-page photo in the Arizona Republic featuring Marine Shawn Hicks of Kingman being kissed by an Iraqi civilian after Marines helped topple a statue of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in Baghdad on Wednesday morning.

"That's my son," said Trudy Hicks, who displayed a portrait of Shawn.

A member of Hicks' church, Linda Chevalier, hugged her.

American troops are "liberating the folks in Kuwait – I mean Iraq," Hart said, mistakenly referring the Gulf War fought against Hussein in 1991.

Hart drew praise when he said he no longer plays records from the Dixie Chicks on his radio station because of a comment by a trio member that she was "embarrassed" that President Bush comes from her same state, Texas.

After Byram and Byers spoke briefly, Hatchell announced the availability of bumper stickers and turned the podium over to ordinary citizens ranging from children to seniors.

Jeremy Rinehart, a sixth-grader at the Kingman Academy of Learning Middle School, drew laughter when he said, "If I was over there (in Iraq), I'd kick some butt."

After he spoke, his principal, Greg Tibbetts, approached him and said, "Well spoken, good job."

Participants also showed support by writing notes on a portable "wall of honor."

Janelle Fields, 21, of Kingman wrote her fiancé, Marine Cpl.

Mario Griego, "Hurry up and get back so we can get married."

Fields, who works in inventory control at a factory in Kingman, held a portrait of Griego, who is with the 1st Marine Division based in Camp Pendleton, Calif.