Saturday, September 22, 2001

City shows patriotism with rally at stadium

By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The thousands of people who came to the “Freedom Rally” Friday night didn't quite fill up the lower level of Paul Brown Stadium.

        But they sounded like a full house.

        “Every time we applaud, let's make sure they hear us in New York, in Washington, in Pennsylvania, in London, in Paris, and yes — in Baghdad and Kabul,” said emcee Clyde Gray of WCPO-TV (Channel 9).

[photo] Emily Casey, 6, of Erlanger, waves her American flag Friday night; behind her is her mother, Susan.
(Jeff Swinger photo)
| ZOOM |
        And applaud they did.

        There were plenty of patriotic speeches, some rousing and some somber, from Gov. Bob Taft and others.

        But most of the evening was about the music.

        Eliot Sloan of the Blessid Union of Souls sang, “America the Beautiful,” and Nick Lachey of 98 Degrees sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

        The Walnut Hills High School Wind Ensemble performed a patriotic medley, and Cinergy Choir performed a spiritual and soulful “From a Distance.”

        The rally lasted a little longer than an hour, and proceeds benefited the American Red Cross.

        Tad Lawrence, the chairman of the Cincinnati Chapter of the American Red Cross, asked people giving to the New York relief effort to give “above and beyond.” Local needs for social services haven't diminished, he said.

        When they turned off the stadium lights for a “glow-stick salute,” people joined in with lighters and flash bulbs.

        As the evening was capped off by a fireworks show, Ruth Owrey of Franklin, waved a flag and held a sign that read, “Buildings may fall, yet America stands tall.”

        The wife of a 22-year Air Force veteran, she said she came down “just to feel better.... and to show the rest of the world we're united.”

        Even after the lights came back on and most people had left, Richard Ringo of Mount Lookout stayed. He wore a Bengals jersey and waved an American flag to Lee Greenwood's “God Bless the U.S.A.”

        “It just feels good. I'm not ready to leave,” he said.


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