National Guard troops headed to Afghanistan get ceremonious send-off
PLYMOUTH — It was difficult to find a dry eye in the packed gymnasium of the Plymouth National Guard Armory Wednesday afternoon, as local soldiers from Plymouth and New Albany prepared for their departure to Afghanistan.
The men and women stood with their loved ones, unified by a common goal but not quite willing to leave their families’ sides just yet.
It was a “bittersweet moment” as State Representative Nancy Dembowski said, addressing the crowd gathered. She bowed out of a mandatory meeting of the Indiana House of Representatives to be at the ceremony in Plymouth Wednesday.
“It really wasn’t so difficult,” said Dembowski of skipping the meeting. “You chose what’s most important. And it was important to be here.”
“You will be in the daily prayers of people you have never met,” continued Dembowski, looking out at the troops. “Looking at you here, in uniform, we can see that America is still the land of the brave.”
Congressman Joe Donnelly also spoke to the troops, saying “There’s no way we can repay our obligation to you. Please know that we have your backs here. If anything comes up with your family — mortgages, bills — call us. We want you to have a clear mind and a clear head, and not worry about anything at home.”
Mayor Mark Senter and Plymouth FOP 195 president Hurschel Hunter both offered encouragement and thanks to the soldiers and their friends and family.
Senter shared his personal experience, saying “As the son of a World War II vet, this means a lot to me to stand up here.” He added that his time on the Indiana State Police force caused him to admire the military even more.
Hunter said, “For the soldiers standing here today, former and present — we support you.”
A banner that reads, “Plymouth supports our troops” was presented to the 381st MP unit, and applause thundered through the room as the ceremony was concluded.
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