Mineola Shows Support For Military, Families

While the war in Iraq continues, East Texas communities continue to support the families left on the homefront.

A Friday rally in Mineola gave residents a chance to not only show their patriotism, but also to come together as a community for their families touched by the war.

"It's more difficult than I could have ever imagined," Navy wife Sunshine Hearn said. "It's just the day to day, you never know where he's gonna be."

"And you don't know if you're going to hear from him today, or tomorrow, or ever again. And to try to explain it to a child is that much more difficult," she said, holding their three year-old son Isaiah.

A procession of dozens passed before the microphone Friday, speaking the name of their loved ones spread to different positions on the globe in support of their country. On the fence surrounding the stadium where many of Mineola's sons played football, yellow ribbons were tied. Each bore the name of a hometown hero or heroine.

"I think it's important that people understand that they're not going through this alone," Mineola coach and Army veteran Wes Wood said. "They're not the only families that don't have their loved ones at home, and it just gives them some kind of peace and comfort knowing that they have the support of the community."

For some, the comfort of knowing their town supports them is still not enough.

"I was looking forward to this until this morning," Alicia Prather says. Alicia's fiancee, Daniel, is a Marine. "We heard on the news where Daniel's battalion had gone through five hours of straight fighting and they have had some casualties, but we haven't heard anything yet."

"This is," she says, searching for the words,"It's hard, real hard."

In Mineola, a football stadium full of people became an extended family.

Reid Kerr (rkerr@kltv.com) reporting.