River Parishes support troops

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 24, 2003


HAHNVILLE – “Since Sept. 11, this generation has been stepping up,” St. Charles Parish President Albert Laque told a quickly-assembled Support Our Troops ceremony in Hahnville Thursday.

“We in St. Charles Pairsh do not waver in our support,” Laque said to the estimated 300 people in attendance, a crowd which included school children, parish workers, veterans and officials.

In words which echoed those he said in a similar rally held two weeks after Sept. 11, Laque also remembered Robert Hymel, a native of Hahnville and former resident of Norco, who perished in the Pentagon attack.

“Robert Hymel was a decorated Vietnam veteran working for the Defense Intelligence Agency. We all owe our liberty to Robert Hymel and people like him,” Laque said.

He also quoted President Kennedy, saying, “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

In the assembly, held on the courthouse lawn, veterans were invited to stand before the podium and accept the applause of those others in attendance. Twenty-four responded to the call.

Jack Hitt of Luling, himself a World War II veteran, observed, “We’ve got a good military now, because they’re all volunteers.”

Sheriff Greg C. Champagne declared, “Today is not the day to criticise,” and warned that local law enforcement is working with state and national government to address any possible terrorist retaliation from the Iraqi war, now in progress.

“That war could be here in St. Charles Parish at any time,” Champagne cautioned, and added: “We are all homeland security. Be vigilant. Keep your eyes open. Report anything unusual to law enforcement.”

The 27-minute rally also featured Destrehan High School student Sarah Melohn performing the National Anthem and backed by the Earl J. Landry Sr. Middle School band.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3750 in Luling also led the Pledge of Allegiance. The rally also featured the prayers of clergy representatives including the Rev. Henry LeBoyd of New Jerusalem Baptist Church, New Sarpy; the Rev. Gary McCall of Bible Center Church, Luling; the Rev. James Bach of St. Gertrude Catholic Church, Des Allemands; and the Rev. D.B. Mollaire of Good Hope Baptist Church in Norco and Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Ama.

Other officials in attendance included Sen. Joel Chaisson, Rep. Gary Smith, Councilman Lance Marino, Councilman Clayton Faucheux, Councilwoman Dee Abadie and Clerk of Court Charles Oubre Jr.