“Support Our Troops” flyer

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Client: Internal application, Charlottesville, VA
Category: A graphical flyer to support the U.S. military.

 

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By Jon Sutz

In April 2003, I observed the vile way in which activist minorities in Charlottesville, VA were protesting America and its military leadership, in our efforts to force Iraq to comply with U.N. resolutions to which it agreed, twelve years earlier. These protests included:

  • Traffic-blocking, vulgarity-laced demonstrations
  • Placards that likened America’s military to murderers, and claimed President Bush is a war criminal
  • Other outrageous statements made in interviews with the local media
    (Photos at right are representative of what I observed – but were not taken in Charlottesville)

I became deeply concerned that if our deployed soldiers only see these protesters on the Internet, and being covered by local and national news media, they may get the (false) impression that most Americans feel this way.

At the same time, military interviewees and consultants in the news media often mentioned how important it is for the U.S. soldiers who are deployed overseas to know that they are not forgotten, that we support them and look forward to the day they can come home. Unfortunately, this insight was almost never followed up with information on where to write to the troops, to send them gifts, etc. And in our post-9/11 world, one cannot just mail a box of goodies to a soldier.


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My decision to research and develop a flyer containing information on where to write and send gifts to our soldiers

These events, coupled with my ability to conduct research, led me to invest some time to see if I could discover reputable means by which to communicate with our troops, and send them care packages, in the hopes of transmitting this information to the local and national news media.

I began by visiting the local armed forces recruiting center. Unfortunately, they were very busy, and did not have a ready-made list the types of websites and email addresses I sought. However, the Marine sergeant with whom I spoke was very encouraging about my mission, and we made a tacit agreement to help each other to find out this information, and to “get the word out.”

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Hate vandalism at a U.S. military recruiting office increases my motivation to create a resource flyer

Through my research at the Pentagon and the State Department, I was able to come up with my first four website addresses. When I delivered this information to the recruiting office, however, I was informed by a Navy chief that the night before, someone had vandalized their front door with signs that claimed our military personnel and defense officials are Nazis, who must be stopped.

I was so outraged that I became determined to apply my writing and graphic design skills to put together a flyer that would present these websites – and my views on the importance of conveying our support to the troops – in the light I felt they deserved.
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The finished flyer

Within a few days, my flyer was complete:
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When I delivered it to the recruiting office, however, the Navy chief told me of his frustration that:

  • Not only had his office been vandalized, but…
  • The University of Virginia’s ROTC office had been vandalized recently as well
  • There local news media was not covering these criminal acts – but it was giving widespread, front-page coverage to “peace” protesters

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“Peace” activists began tearing down my flyers — prompting me to put even more up; controversy leads to interview on local NBC affiliate

I then began distributing and posting my flyers wherever I could.  Unfortunately, my flyers were being torn down or vandalized soon after they were put up – presumably due the protestors’ unwillingness to allow opposing viewpoints to be considered by the public. This drove me to distribute and post even more flyers.

In late March, Charlottesville’s NBC television affiliate (WVIR-29) found out about the controversy, and the station’s Grant Lodus conducted an on-camera interview with me on April 2, 2003; transcript below:

6:00 – 6:03 – War Coverage

6:03 – 6:04 – Coverage of Virginia Legislature re debate over estate tax

News Anchor: “With troops facing their toughest days ahead in Iraq, now more than ever, Americans are coming forward to support them.  One Charlottesville resident says he’s doing what he can to support troops overseas.  Grant Lodus has the story:”

GL: (Video of Jon taping flyer to light pole) “For the past several weeks, Jon Sutz has worked tirelessly to distribute this flyer…”

JS: (seated at desk) “…to combat the misperception that is being propagated by the peace protesters… that the military is just a bunch of murderers.”

GL: (Jon walking into Armed Forces Recruiting Station, then shaking hands with a Marine Sergeant) “Sutz’s first stop was the Armed Forces Recruiting Station in Charlottesville, where recruiters told him that an anti-war sign had been placed in front of their building.”

Marine Corps Master Sergeant: “The way I viewed it was as comparing our leader, President Bush, to some of the communist leaders of the past…”

GL: (At University of Virginia ROTC marquee board, amidst pictures with two blank spaces) “The ROTC office here at the University of Virginia was not spared from these acts of vandalism.  Pictures of President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld used to hang here, but were defaced with black ink.  That’s another reason that Jon wanted to get more involved.”

GL: (Jon at computer, working with flyer graphic on screen – zooming in on “Support Our Troops” headline) “He spent countless hours on the Internet, scouring the newspaper, and researching, to put this together.  And no matter what, he wants the troops to know there’s support back home.”

JS: “They need to know that we’re thinking about them, that they’re not alone out there alone, that they have the American people behind them, in the sense that we believe in them (scenes of soldiers saluting, and in HumVee driving across desert) that we understand they are following orders.., (Jon) and that we hope for their safe and swift return.”

GL: “Grant Lodus, Channel 29 News.”

The interview appeared immediately after the national headlines, on several newscasts in the following days.  This interview, in turn, led to local radio stations and other newspapers doing stories on my efforts, and in some cases, listed some of the web-links and addresses that my flyers contained, for those in the community who wished to voice their thoughts or send gifts to America’s military.

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This incident was the preface to an editorial I wrote in defense of the U.S. military and its command leadership

The above events occurred shortly before I saw a nationally-syndicated column by far-left hate columnist Ted Rall, entitled “Don’t Support our Troops.”

In response, I wrote my own editorial – which got published in place of his, in the C’Ville Weekly; see: Editorial: A rebuttal to Ted Rall’s “Don’t Support Our Troops”

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