A cloudy gray day faced volunteers who recently gathered outside the American Legion Post #148 in Colonial Beach for “Red Balloons for Soldiers.”
Town Council member, Tim Curtin, had arranged the balloon release as part of the memorial event started by Sonja Ruhren of Stafford in memory of her son Sgt. David Ruhren who was killed in a suicide bombing in Mosul, Iraq, on Dec. 21, 2004.
The event has grown over the years to include all American soldiers who have lost their lives in defense of the U.S. Ruhren had hoped for 500 participants this year and says she surpassed her goal. At the Colonial Beach event, approximately 40 people released 450 red balloons and 26 green and white ones.
Town Council members Curtin, Tommy Edwards, Gary Seeber, Jim Chiarella and Wanda Goforth as well as Mayor Mike Ham were all present at the launch.
Several of the balloons had notes on them to various soldiers, including one to Marine Lance Cpl. Daniel Scott Resner Bubb who was killed Oct. 17, 2005 in Rutbah, Iraq, one day before his 20th birthday. Bubb joined the Marines following his high school graduation motivated by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Bubb, from Grottoes, served with PFC Daniel Warren Desimone, who is the son of Tracey Jones. Jones volunteered at the event.
Members of the American Legion volunteered and the Ladies Auxiliary had coffee, hot chocolate and hot dogs available for all attendees. The balloons flew away quickly, as winds were above 20 miles per hour with occasional gusts over 35 miles an hour. At 9:30 a.m.., as bells chimed through town, 20 green and white balloons were released into the sky in memory of the 20 children who were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.
Curtin stated that Party City had donated the green and white balloons when he was there purchasing other items for the launch. Curtin hopes to make this an annual event in Colonial Beach to help us all to remember the soldiers we have lost.