Say ‘Merry Christmas’ to troops

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 19, 2010

NATCHEZ — Miss-Lou residents who have family overseas know what it is like to miss someone during the holidays.

Soldiers spend their Christmas away from friends and family — serving their country — and holiday cheer is usually the last thing on their mind.

Natchez resident Karlyn Ritchie is trying to change that with an idea that she said came to her out of the blue.

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“I wanted to have a community Christmas card that we can send to the troops overseas,” she said. “I just want us to show support for our troops during this holiday season.”

Ritchie said she spoke with Natchez Mayor Jake Middleton about having a community photo that would include every resident in the Miss-Lou that wanted to attend.

“This is nothing political,” she said. “It is just something uplifting for the troops, and gosh knows, they need it.”

Ritchie said the photo is set for noon Thursday on Broadway Street in Natchez.

“I just want to reach out to the troops,” she said. “They are thousands of miles away from their friends and families, and I should think we would be glad in supporting our military.”

Ritchie said the photo will be taken from a bucket truck from either behind the Natchez Grand Hotel, or at the gazebo on Broadway Street.

“We wanted to have an aerial shot so the troops could see how many people are there, and so they can see the Mississippi River in the background,” she said. “We are just trying to give them a little piece of home.”

Ritchie said she hopes residents remember the sacrifices soldiers have made when deciding on whether or not to come take the community photo.

“How little of your time does it take to give up a part of your lunch hour and walk over to Broadway,” she said. “It is very little to ask from us. Most of these soldiers are half a world away from where they want to be, and we need to show support for them.”

Ritchie said the pictures will be sent around the world to the USO within a couple of hours after they are taken through the use of Twitter.

Ritchie also said for residents to bring any flags, signs or patriotic items they have to make the picture special.

“Just don’t bring anything political,” she said. “I don’t want this to turn into a political event. This is a time to show our troops that we are with them, and they can look at these pictures and know we are with them.”