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Group gathers on Downtown Square for troops

Approximately two dozen people gathered downtown in Troy Saturday afternoon to show support for American troops waging war overseas.

Though the skies were cloudy, the atmosphere was festive, with music, dancing and drawings for prizes. Red, white and blue balloons added flair to the gathering, which was organized by a high school service organization, The Twilighter Club.

Whitney Mitchell, who will be president of the club next year, said a lot of hard work went into organizing the rally.

"We handed out fliers, set up these tables and the city helped us with the tents," she said.

Mitchell said the rally, which was held from 11:00 until 2:00, was designed to collect supplies to send to American troops deployed overseas.

"We're sending stuff like water, Band-Aids and eyedrops," she said.

Group sponsor Elizabeth Stallworth said the supply collection was the initial goal, but after the death of Pike County resident Johnny Brown, a soldier killed last week, the goal changed.

"We were just going to set up a place where people could drop off supplies for Operation Frontline, which is run by Johnny Brown's relatives," she said. "But then, when we heard the news, they decided to turn it into something more."

Stallworth said a huge portion of the organizing was done by Twilighter Amy Reeves, a junior at Pike Liberal Arts.

"We really wanted to get the whole community involved," Reeves said. "We've got balloons and face painting for the kids and we had some great speakers."

Melanie Barnes sang the national anthem and "We Are America," a song written by her husband. The Troy School of Dance also performed some dances and clogging routines.

Reeves, who has a brother being deployed, said she was inspired to hold the rally as a response to those Americans who oppose the war.