LE SUEUR (AP) -- Lois Hutton had a star-spangled vision, of sorts, and the result is a bloom of Old Glory from Mankato to Belle Plaine.
Her desire: for south-central Minnesota cities to fly American flags in their downtowns to support U.S. war effort. Her idea brought representatives of area cities to City Hall on Thursday.
"Through prayer, the Lord brought it to me Tuesday evening that we need to do something to show our support," said Hutton, whose son is serving with the military in Kuwait.
Cities solicited to join the effort include Mankato, St. Peter, Le Sueur, Le Center, Arlington, New Prague, Henderson, Montgomery and Belle Plaine.
Virtually all towns had installed downtown flags on Thursday.
"There's nothing better than for a mom with a son overseas to drive through a town and see American flags out," Hutton said.
He's seen it before
AUSTIN (AP) -- Gene Cox has seen it before: the political talk, the shuffling of the soldiers, even the enemy is the same.
Cox, now retired from the military, was in medical divisions that were part of military efforts in Panama and in Kuwait and Iraq as part of Desert Storm. As head of a POW hospital ward in Saudi Arabia, Cox helped wounded Iraqi soldiers taken toward the end of the conflict.
"As (the Iraqi troops) pulled back and we got further into Iraq, they'd just leave them behind," he said. In 12-hour shifts seven days a week, Cox worked to salvage as much of the soldier's gangrenous limbs as he could.
By the end, his ward had saved 47 Iraqi POWs.
Cox favors forcing Saddam Hussein out of Iraq. He said he thought America should have continued into Baghdad during Desert Storm, but understands why it didn't happen. "I think we needed objectives. I think that was important at the time so we didn't have an incident like Vietnam," Cox said. "But when we came home, we had that sense that the job wasn't done."
He wishes he was there
MANKATO (AP) -- Sgt. Jesus Hernandez waited for the first strike on Iraq with mixed feelings. The Army reservist was part of the buildup, but his six-month stint ended March 2, and he returned home to be with his son and fiance.
"I wish I was over there," he said. "I feel like it's my duty. But at the same time, I'm glad to be back."
Hernandez said Bush's movement to get rid of Hussein is overdue. "The way I see it, this should have been done 13 years ago," Hernandez said. "He's just trying to finish something his dad couldn't do."
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