- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 16, 2003

HARKER HEIGHTS, Texas If you ask Terry Robison whether he considers himself a patriot, he'll tell you he has to check the dictionary.
"Patriot is a word that I reserve for people who have contributed a whole lot more to America than I have," the 49-year-old print-shop owner says.
But, as co-owners of Graphic Concepts, Mr. Robison and his wife, Delilla, have been doing more than their share for American patriotism. During the past decade, the print shop has produced more than 200,000 red and white "We Support Our Soldiers" signs as part of a nonprofit effort that began during the first Gulf war.
This time around, the Robisons expect to print about 50,000 signs. So far, they have produced 5,000.
The signs have become a staple to the backbone of support being shown nationwide for U.S. forces deployed around the world. Although they're most popular here in central Texas, the signs are taped in windows of stores in towns across the country.
Some, carried by soldiers when they deploy, have even have made it as far away as Kuwait.
"The signs are slowly migrating around the world," said Ralph C. Gauer, a friend of the Robisons and president of the Central Texas Fort Hood Chapter of the Association of the United States Army.
The Arlington, Va.-based nonprofit organization, which provides information at www.ausa.org, helps finance Graphic Concepts' production of the signs.
When U.S. troops were sent by the first President Bush to oust Saddam Hussein's forces from Kuwait 12 years ago during Operation Desert Storm, the Robisons, both children of retired military personnel, felt compelled to show their support.
After some brainstorming and collaborating with the AUSA in 1990, "We came up with these placards," Mr. Robison said.
Initially they were distributed locally, but their popularity spread quickly.
By March of 1991, Graphic Concepts had cranked out more than 200,000 signs.
Mr. Robison says he's not driven by the prospect of getting a pat on the back from anybody. Or to make a buck. His goal is to galvanize support for the troops.
"I don't want soldiers and their families thinking that I do this for profit," he said.
"We Support Our Soldiers" signs appear advertisement-free, and the only money Graphic Concepts has received to produce them has gone toward paying for raw materials.
"The signs are not offered for sale at any price, and not while I'm ever involved in this will they ever be used to advertise," he said.
Asked whether he's bothered by anti-war demonstrations, Mr. Robison said he respects the rights of people to demonstrate anywhere for causes other than his own.
"It's not bothersome to me to see those people" protesting, he said. "It strengthens my resolve for the Constitution in the United States of America. We couldn't do that if we lived in Iraq."
Mr. Gauer, who takes orders and donations by e-mail at rcgmedia@n-link.com, suggested that the "We Support Our Soldiers" signs would find a natural place in any demonstration, be they for or against war.
"They allow the community to publicly express our support for and our willingness to embrace soldiers and their families," he said.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide