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    Stop&Shop Marks Iraq Anniversary with Free Easter Shop for Soldiers' Kin

    Initiative benefits families of New York's legendary Fighting 69th.

    On the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, Stop & Shop provided families of the New York National Guard's all-volunteer "Fighting 69th" a free morning of Easter shopping last week, as the unit geared up to be deployed to Afghanistan.

    A half-dozen New York-area families related to a member of the 69th were selected to shop free from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on March 20 at the Stop & Shop in Dix Hills, Long Island, New York. Each family was given a $150 budget, and most spent the money on such holiday treats as hams, turkeys, and desserts. All of the participants, who were chosen by the unit, came in under budget, noted Stop & Shop spokesman Howard Cannon.

    The famous division has two armories in the New York area, in Manhattan and the Long Island town of Bayshore. Well-known members of the division include the poet Joyce Kilmer ("Trees") and Father Francis Duffy, its chaplain during WWI.

    Members of unit, now assigned to Fort Bragg, N.C., returned to Long Island to celebrate Easter at home before being sent to Afghanistan. Many of its members are embarking on a second combat tour. During a previous deployment to Iraq, the 69th reported 19 members killed and 85 seriously injured.

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