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Coalition Village joins Bayshore Patriots

by Staff Sgt. Randy Redman
Thunderbolt editor

It takes a village
Pam Iorio, mayor of Tampa, greets the representatives from Coalition Village on Bayshore Boulevard May 20 during the second annual Bayshore Patriots Coalition Flag Waving event. All 61 countries from the village were represented in an event held as a sign of continued solidarity for the multinational efforts in the war on terrorism.

Men and women, young and old, American and foreign, all joined together to show the Tampa community the pride and patriotism which thrives behind the gates at MacDill. Anyone interested in joining the Patriots can log onto the groupís Web site at www.bayshorepatriots.org for more information.

With horns blaring and cheers of support, commuters showed their support of the Bayshore Patriots and their guests. The event was held during the Friday afternoon commute from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Known to her friends as the Pin Lady, Hon Welsh joined the Patriots when they formed after the events of Sept. 11, 2001. She said she loves America and attends every Friday afternoon.

The unofficial Harley riders from MacDill also showed up with about 30 bikes to show their support.

Bill Hamblin, veteran and Patriots' vice president, waits for the traffic to clear before making his way to the bay-side of the street. The Patriots are a non-profit volunteer organization which operates through donations of local businesses and individuals.

Photos by Staff Sgt. Randy Redman

Members from all 61 countries in MacDillís Coalition Village joined the Bayshore Patriots May 20 as a sign of continued solidarity for the multinational efforts in the war on terrorism.

Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio was on hand to meet each country's representatives and said she was glad to have them here in the community.

The Patriots were formed from an outpouring of support for our country following the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001. On Friday afternoons following the events in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C., patriotic Americans joined together at Bay to Bay and Bayshore boulevards to wave their flags.

The group was named by local media after its Friday afternoon efforts were well received by the community.

"The Coalition Flag Wave is very special to us all. The concept of high ranking officers from 61 countries standing shoulder to shoulder, in peace, proudly waving their country's flags says so much," said Julie Whitney, Patriots' Board of Directors president. She added, "Of all the things we do, this has to be my favorite event."

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