Brundidge rolls out the red, white,

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 2, 2000

blue carpet for nation’s veterans


Features Editor

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During times of war, common people are called upon to do uncommon things.

During times of peace, these people should not be forgotten.

Friday night, an estimated crowd of 350 people, gathered in Brundidge to pay tribute to the veterans of America’s wars. They did so with prayer, in song, with tributes and by lighting candles in remembrance of a "Century of Heroes."

Many in attendance were veterans. They wore their badges of courage proudly – the colors of the Navy, the Army, the Air Force and the Marines. They were the faces of different wars and different times – World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf.

The thread that pulls them all together is their love of country.

Keynote speaker Col. (Ret.) John Schmidt told the gathering of patriots that peace is not passive. "It is active."

"The Bible says, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers,’ and the men and women who answer their country’s call are the peacemakers," Schmidt said.

Schmidt reminded the audience that a generation of peacemakers, the World War II veterans, is slowly fading away and that this nation owes them a great debt of gratitude.

The veterans of every war have displayed an uncommon sense of duty, honor and courage. They have paid the price of America’s freedom, Schmidt said.

"Long live the United States of America and may God continue to bless us with his light from above."

Col. (Ret.) Lawrence Bowden reflected on the conflict in Korea and the sacrifices made by the men and women who served during the "forgotten war."

Bowden said, as the nation commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Korean War, perhaps more Americans will come to understand the commitment and courage of those who served.

Bowden said he is often moved to tears when he visits national cemeteries and looks across row after row of white crosses.

"I stand there and think, ‘What a waste of lives.’ Why can’t we find some peaceful way to settle our differences?" he said.

Until that day comes, there will be wars and rumors of wars and there will be brave men and women who respond to the call of "peacemakers," said Randy Ross, Pike County veterans affairs officer.

"As one after another filed across the pavilion to light a candle in memory or in honor of a loved one who served, it was obvious that patriotism is not dead in this country," he said. "It’s there but maybe we don’t show it often enough.

We celebrated a ‘Century of Heroes’ because they are the ones who have paid the price of freedom for us. The veterans who came out Friday night are the real heroes in today’s world. It was an honor to be in their presence."