Encouraging signs support U.S. military

Friday, April 4, 2003

Patriotism over promotion.

That's what several area businesses have chosen by at least temporarily replacing the slogans and product pitches on their outdoor signs with sayings like "God bless America," "We support our troops," and "Pray for our military."

"I did it because I'm an American," said Danny Lynn, who owns the two Domino's Pizza outlets in Cape Girardeau. "You hear the minority criticizing the country so much, I thought it would be good to hear the majority speak out."

His signs say: "God bless the USA and our troops."

Lynn said he did consider the possibility of alienating anti-war customers, but opted to do it anyway.

"I believe we ought to support our troops and our country, and that's a risk I take," he said.

Brenda Brown, the manager of the Wonder Bread Bakery store on North Kingshighway, said she wanted such a sign -- "Pray for our troops" -- because she's a Christian.

"I just feel that's the only thing we can do as citizens in the United States is to pray for them," Brown said. "I'm praying for their safety."

Call to prayer

Normally, the sign in front of the Eye Care Center in Jackson just offers the phone number. But Dawn Detring, the wife of the center's optometrist, wanted something more patriotic. It says: "We pray for our military."

"I'm patriotic because my father served in World War Two," she said. "I've always been brought up to be patriotic. This is a small way to show our support."

Detring said the sign is not meant to be "pro-war."

"But the soldiers are over there, so we should support them," she said.

Most, if not all, of the 22 Rhodes 101 convenience stores in Southeast Missouri have signs that say "We support our troops. Pray for them." The sign on the Sprigg Street store in front of the Show Me Center is accompanied by two small American flags.

"Whether you are for the war or against it, you've got to support our troops," owner Jim Maurer said. "They're putting a lot on the line for us, and that's just the way we feel about it."

Signs in front of the Burger King restaurants owned by Drury Restaurants say "We fly all our flags proudly." The restaurants have the American flag, the Missouri flag, the POW/MIA flag and the restaurant chain's flag.

Joel Neikirk, the vice president of operations for Drury Restaurants, said he asked for the signs after a customer called last weekend and said she was the mother of a soldier fighting in the war.

"That's what prompted us to do it," Neikirk said. "Obviously, we have team members who have family members fighting too. We think this sends a message of how important our military is to us."

Gary Via is the manager of Precision Transmission in Cape Girardeau, which has a sign that says "God bless America." He said he hopes that other businesses in the area will display signs that support troops.

"I think more people ought to do that and show support rather than protest," he said. "Hopefully, those protests don't get back to the troops. They've got enough on their minds than to know that people are angry they're over there. We should all just support them and hope they come home soon."

smoyers@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 137

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