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Independence Day celebration this weekend

Independence Day is all about patriotism and so, the people of Brundidge paint their town red, white and blue and invite everyone to come and celebrate with them.

The annual Independence Day celebration is held the last weekend in June and begins on Friday night with a Salute to Veterans and ends with the Independence Day Parade and celebration on Saturday.

Randy Ross, veterans affairs office for Pike and Crenshaw counties said this year's Salute to Veterans should be one of the biggest because it comes on the heels of the liberation of Iraq.

&uot;We have a new breed of veterans and we want to salute them along with the veterans of other wars - World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Gulf War I,&uot; Ross said. &uot;We invite all veterans to be a part of this celebration because we will be celebrating them and their service.&uot;

The Salute to Veterans will begin a 7 p.m. at the Knox Ryals Pavilion on the grounds of the historic Bass House. In case of rain, the ceremony will be held in the &uot;We Piddle Around Theater.&uot;

&uot;We have an outstanding program planned with patriotic music, an inspiring speech and a candlelight service,&uot; Ross said. &uot;Members of American Legion Post No. 70 and its auxiliary in Troy, Scott Flowers and Dorothy Jinright, will also place a memorial wreath in remembrance of deceased veterans.&uot;

Tentatively, Melinda Turvin, Carrie Barrow, Carrie Taylor and Heart of Dixie Barbershop Quartet will provide special music for the Salute to Veterans and Charlie Dunn, Army retired, will be the featured speaker.

&uot;The Salute will close with the lighting of candles in memory or honor of those who have served or are serving our country,&uot; Ross said. &uot;Family members and friends will be invited to light candles for their loved ones.&uot;

Colonial Bank will provide light refreshments for the celebration and everyone is encourage to come early and enjoy a time of fellowship with friends and neighbors before the Salute to Veterans begins.

&uot;We also will have a tent where veterans can sign up for membership in different service organizations - the local American Legion posts, the VWFs, and the DAV,&uot; Ross said. &uot;In recent years, membership in these organizations has declined and it is very important to build that memberships. As we lose our World War II veterans, who have been so active and supportive, our younger veterans are not stepping it to take their places. If many of these service organizations don't get new members, they will lose their charters. It is very important to get our veterans involved in our military service organizations.&uot;

Ross said many veterans, especially the very young ones, have family and work obligations that make it difficult for them to attend meetings.

&uot;We want our members at the meetings whenever possible, but we understand the busy lifestyle we lead,&uot; he said. &uot;Even if it's not possible to attend the meetings, we need veterans on roll to show their support of the organizations. So, we encourage all veterans to join one of our service organizations before they become disenfranchised.&uot;

The annual Brundidge Independence Day Parade is set for 9 a.m. Saturday on Main Street in Brundidge. Those interested in entering a unit may do so by calling Rue Botts at 735-3125.