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January 20, 2006

Montana group organized to show support for troops
Gazette State Bureau

HELENA - The fathers of two Montanans killed in Iraq said during a press conference Thursday in the Capitol that it's critical that Americans continue to stand behind U.S. troops in Iraq and support their mission to stop terrorism.

The fathers are part of a newly formed group, Montana Families United, whose mission is to stand behind the troops and draw attention to the good work they are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan. Montana is the 35th state to have an affiliate of the national group, Families United for Our Troops and Their Mission.

"We are not angry at anyone," said Denny Bedard, a Missoula-area man whose son, Andrew, was killed in Iraq last fall. "We do not blame anyone. We are not bitter."

He said he is proud of what his son accomplished and believes in what the U.S. soldiers are doing in Iraq.

"The more I learn about what my son was doing for a living, the more inspired I become," Bedard said. "Nothing in my life is as difficult as what that courageous 19-year-old was doing.

"We want to show our country we support our soldiers and our mission," he said.

He said there are signs of the U.S. success in Iraq - such as when the statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled in Iraq in 2003.

Al Bloem, a Belgrade man whose son Nicholas was killed in Iraq last summer, gestured to the crowd behind the microphone and said, "You see here families that are united behind the troops.

"As a family, we have no regrets," Bloem said. "We're proud that our son was chosen to serve his country this way. And we're proud that the gave his life for his country and for Iraq."

Chuck Larson, a Republican state senator from Iowa and a major in the U.S. Army Reserves who served in Iraq, said he formed Families United "to help get the good news out."

As a sign of progress, he cited the fact that 11 million Iraqis, or 70 percent of the eligible voters, cast a ballot in December, compared with this country's 55 percent turnout in 2004.

"It is important to know that we are winning the war on terror," Larson said.

He spoke at the launching of the Montana group, which also announced a Web site, www.montanafamiliesunited.com.

"Having served in the combat zone, I know it is paramount that our troops know that Americans support them and their mission," Larson said.

He said Families United is a grass-roots coalition of families who have had relatives killed in the war, veterans, families with relatives serving in the Armed Forces and other Americans.

Larson said Families United is funded by individual contributions from "a number of patriotic, red-blooded Americans." It is not now, nor will it ever be, a political group that will support candidates or political parties, he said.

Families United did receive one grant from Progress for America, an organization formed in 2001 to promote President Bush's agenda, he said.


Well-known member
Jan 12, 2006
Reaction score
Central Texas
:clap: :nod: :clap: :nod: The sad part of this story is that these people, who have the every right to support our troops and their efforts as Cindy Sheehan has to protest them, will not get the air time she has gotten. Kind of makes you wonder why? Maybe there is a bias after all? :?

I am thankful for families like that. I am also thankful for sheehan's son. I don't agree with her position on this war, and thats fine but her son obviously agreed to some extent or he wouldn't have been there. It makes me sad to hear of our brave men and women dying but when you hear that their families are proud of them and what they were doind then it reminds me of how thankful I am we have people who are willing to pay that price for us.

Oldtimer if you happen to run across any of these family members please tell them how thankful we are, and that our thoughts and prayers are with them. :heart:

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