Patriotic celebration honors armed forces

Published 4:04 pm Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Veterans of all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and members of the local National Guard unit were honored during a Sunday evening pre-July 4 patriotic choral and band music celebration at the Decatur County Memorial Coliseum.

The choral portion of the program—featuring the combined choirs of First Baptist Church, Morningside Baptist Church and First United Methodist Church—provided beautiful renditions of patriotic favorites like “God Bless America” and “America The Beautiful” and sing-along favorites like “It’s A Grand Old Flag” and Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.”

Vonda Friend of the Morningside choir sang a beautiful solo of “God Bless America.”

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The band music portion of the program, which began with the playing of the National Anthem following the presentation of colors by the Bainbridge High School Air Force Junior ROTC color guard, was provided by the classic patriotic band made up of current and former members of the Bainbridge High School Band and the Bainbridge British Brass Band under the direction of the Rev. Randall Terry and Decatur County School System Director of Bands Paschal Ward.

At the conclusion of the program, Terry presented an award to Ward in recognition of his 25 years as director of the award-winning Bainbridge High School marching and concert bands.

Highlight of the evening came when veterans of all armed services branches marched into the coliseum as the chorus sang and the band plate the old-time favorite “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again.”

Another highlight came when the chorus and band jointly played the official songs of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps while veterans walked in with each service branch’s official flag.

The flag ceremony concluded with World War II and Korean Conflict veteran Wes Brooks walking in with the flag in memory and honor of veterans who are prisoners of war or missing in action.

The patriotic musical celebration was brought to a close with the band playing a rousing rendition of “Stars and Stripes Forever” under the direction of Ward.