County to salute vets at program

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 21, 2002

Features Editor

June 28 will be a Red, White and Blue and Apple Pie day in Brundidge.

The Pike County Department of Veterans Affairs will host its annual "Salute to Veterans" at 7 p.m. at the Knox Ryals Pavilion in downtown Brundidge.

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The theme of this year’s salute is "Welcome Home!"

"The salute is to all veterans and we will honor each and every one of them." Ross said. "In 2000, we paid special tribute to the veterans of the Korean War as part of the three-year national recognition of the 50th anniversary of that war, also known as the Forgotten War. We wanted these veterans to know that their service and their sacrifice has not been forgotten."

Last year the "Salute to Veterans" highlighted the veterans of World War II.

"These veterans are members of the ‘Greatest Generation’ and we are losing more and more of them every year," Ross said.

"We wanted them to know how much we appreciate what they did to keep world peace and American free."

This year a special salute will be given to the Vietnam veterans.

"These brave veterans never got the ‘welcome home’ they deserved and that’s why we chose ‘Welcome Home’ as the theme for this year’s celebration," Ross said. "We will officially, be belatedly, welcome the Vietnam veterans back home."

Hotdogs, chips, apple pies and soft drinks will be on sale for an old-fashioned price prior to the opening of the program at 7 p.m.

"We invite everyone to come early, grab a hotdog and an apple pie and enjoy the fellowship of friends and neighbors," Ross said. "However, when the program starts we ask everyone to give their full attention to the real reason we are there – to pay tribute to our veterans."

Korean War veteran Col. Billy Jackson, Ret.,

will be the guest speaker. The Pike County High School JROTC Color Guard will present the colors and special patriotic music will be presented by Carrie Barrow, Kathy Till and the Richland Church choir.

"Elvis will be ‘in the building’ and sing a special rendition of ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic," Ross said. "It will be a very entertaining and inspiring program."

A memorial wreath will be placed at the Veterans Memorial by Billy Gibson, American Legion Post No. 70, and Dorothy Jinright, Ladies Auxiliary, Post No. 70.

Charlie’s Angels will assist in the presentation.

"All veterans in attendance will be honored with a special certificate from the city of Brundidge and Colonial Bank will present recognition awards honoring individuals or groups that have helped keep patriotism alive," Ross said.

The patriotic program will close with a candlelight service in memory and honor of America’s veterans.

"Everyone will have an opportunity to light a candle in memory or honor of a loved one," Ross said. "This is a very meaningful ceremony and we ask for everyone to observe it with reverence."

A program of fun and entertainment will follow the patriotic ceremony and everyone is invited to stay and enjoy the music and the fellowship.

In case of inclement weather, the program will be held at Fort Wendell K. Taylor National Guard Armory on U.S. Highway 231 in Brundidge.