INDIANAPOLIS – In recent years the RCA Dome has been home to elated cheers.Not only were the duped victims and families there, but the usual smarmy collection of enablers, too ... including one nauseatingly-familiar chickenhawk:
But on Wednesday, thousands of Indiana National Guard families huddled together in the stadium’s darkened concourse – whispering farewells and wiping tears away in a striking display of love, sadness and pride.
“It’s pretty difficult on us,” said David Henderson, who came to say goodbye to his son, Tony Henderson, of Huntertown. “I served two years, so at least I know a little of what to expect.”
Tony Henderson is one of the 3,400 members of the 76th Infantry Brigade to deploy Wednesday, including 680 out of Fort Wayne’s 1st Battalion 293rd Infantry Regiment.
The ceremony, for family and friends only, drew more than 20,000 to the Dome. Elected leaders from around the state gave speeches, and a video with the song “American Soldier” was shown.Ummmm, yeah, OK.
U.S. Rep. Mark Souder, R-3rd, told the soldiers they are heading to Iraq at a critical time to help create stability so Iraqi forces can take control of their own country.
He mentioned several Fort Wayne soldiers by name – thanking them for their service.
And then, another tax-sucking nuisance was heard from:
Perhaps the largest cheers were for Colts president Bill Polian, who called the sendoff the most memorable moment in the Dome’s history.The news story doesn't tell us whether Mr. Polian identified anyone within the ranks of the departing legions who looked as if he could run 40 yards in 4.3 seconds, with glue on his hands. Too bad. What's a mere spear-carrier, compared to a gladiator?
He told of a soldier who sent the organization a Colts cap after they won the Super Bowl last year. It had been through several battles, was bloodied and had a bullet hole in it. But the soldier said he wore it as a reminder of home.
That cap has been mounted in the Colts’ locker room as a reminder of sacrifice and service.
“Whether Bears or Browns or Colts or Steelers, we’re all Americans,” Polian told the crowd.