It was on a hazy Monday morning, engulfed in a persistent marine layer when small American flags started to sprout in Plaza Vaquero in support of the U.S. troops.
The event, sponsored by the Conservative Club, started Nov. 5, and raised funds to purchase care packages for a chemical battalion stationed in Iraq. The event sold baked goods, patriotic knick-knacks and flag sponsorships, with the main attraction letter writing to the troops.
“I support the troops,” said Lola Taylor, a transfer center counselor. “They’re doing the best job that they can, away from families, and it’s not their fault they are over there.”
On the eve of a traditional holiday in America, Veterans Day, where all men and women who served their country in the armed forces are remembered and celebrated, an ever-unpopular war has blurred the line between policy, and those who have been called on to defend the disputed course of action.
“It seems like not too many people support the troops for whatever reasons they may have.” Freddy Hutalla, 42, a student and an ex-Marine who served in Fallujah, Iraq, said. “They’re not there because they want to be, they have a job to do, so they can go home.”
The Conservative Club of GCC, which started last spring, boasts 10 active members and another 40 who subscribe to its mailing list.
“We are a group of like-minded people who have a unique point of view on issues, and we are not necessarily Republican. There is a difference between a Republican and conservative. I’d just like people to know that,” said Lexie Collins, 19, a history major, who organized the “Support the Troops” event.
“We have done this before and the response we received from the troops is great. They really appreciate the thought and kindness shown by everyone. This event has so far generated $450 that will be used to send care packages to a battalion stationed in Iraq,” Collins said.
While opinions do vary, and the unfortunate nature of the current conflict has cast an unpopular shadow on the military, support is still abundant among the students at GCC.
“They should be supported,” said Taylor Keyte, 22, a Fine Art major, who had stopped by the booth to lend his support. “They believe in what they do and should be supported in their beliefs.”
Keyte, who is not a member of the Conservative Club, added, “I don’t know about the politics, but there has to be a middle place, but regardless, I believe that the men and women we have sent over there should have our support.”
Victoria Campbell, 20, a linguistics major at Cal State Northridge, who is also taking classes at GCC, said, “I really haven’t thought about war and I’m not sure how I feel about it, but I support our troops.”
“They’re all alone and away from their loved ones.” She hesitated, and finished with a firm, “I support them.”
Campbell lent her support by writing a letter to the troops overseas, letting them know that despite the good or bad, she cares for what they have to go through to serve the country.
There have been a total of 20 letters written to the troops, during the event.
While people walked past the booth, some stopped to get cookies and cupcakes, while others took a moment to just to say hi.