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Area asked to 'purple up' on Tuesday

By Ryan Cornell

STRASBURG -- Locals are asked to wear purple on Tuesday in honor of the children of actively serving military.

Students at Sandy Hook Elementary, Signal Knob Middle and Strasburg High were at the Strasburg Town Council meeting last week to recognize April as Military Kid Awareness Month and designate Tuesday as Military Child Day.

Solie Perez, 13, said her dad is in the Special Forces of the National Guard and is currently training in North Carolina.

He'll be back by the end of the week, and he is a great dad, she said.

"And it's kind of sad him going away, but it's kind of fun too," she said. "We get to go to his base and do cool stuff and watch him jump out of planes and stuff like that."

As the oldest child, Solie said she helps out at home while he's gone by babysitting.

Abbey Rinker, 14, is a student in the Future Farmers of America club at Signal Knob and said her dad is currently stationed in Norfolk and serves in the U.S. Navy.

"Him being gone is really hard for me, and FFA has really helped me go down the right track since I don't have a father figure because he only comes home on the weekends now," she said.

She added that FFA helps keep her organized.

"Being a military family definitely has its ups and downs, but I guess it's all worth it for our freedom," she said.

Her sister, Danielle Rinker, 9, handed each of the council members poppies, which are used to represent veterans and the military.

Danielle said that U.S. Sen. Mark Warner has sent a flag to Richmond to be flown over the capitol building in honor of the Shenandoah County military children.

She said the flag and a certificate will be returned to be displayed in support of the county's military, military families and military children.

Representing the Strasburg post of the American Legion Auxiliary, Brenda James said Tuesday will be celebrated throughout Virginia with people wearing purple to recognize the sacrifices of military kids and their roles as co-parent and babysitter.

"If you take one piece of every branch of the military, including Coast Guard, all of them, and you put it all together, it becomes the color purple," she said. "...If you have purple anywhere, to wear it, or to fly it outside your home, and I'm going to try to have the businesses to have purple balloons that day because it will represent a thank you to the military kids."

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com

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