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Veterans Day observance set for Saturday

Emma Kelly Theater will be site of ceremonies

More than 300 people are expected Saturday for the annual Veterans Day program to be held at the Emma Kelly Theater.
    Retired United States Air Force Major Tom McMullen will be the speaker for the event, which has grown from a gathering of 35 when it first started to the hundreds likely to attend Saturday.
    McMullen, who served in the Air Force for 20 years, said he was pleased to be asked to speak at the observance.
    "I'm glad we're having the observances and I think it's very important to have them," he said.
    McMullen cited the sacrifices made by soldiers as the primary reason to honor veterans.
    "We're, for the most part, citizen-soldiers," he said. "There's not a whole lot of pay or financial reward, but they have sacrificed. We have to respect that sacrifice and I do."
    Kemp Mabry, co-chairman of this year's event, said Veterans Day is a day to honor the living soldiers while Memorial Day is a day to honor those who died serving their country.
    "We try very hard to differentiate between the two," he said.
    The preliminary program starts at 10:30 a.m. with the Statesboro Youth Chorale, under the direction of Dr. Michael Braz, singing patriotic songs while people gather in the theater.
    "They traveled to London this summer to sing and when they got back, they started practicing patriotic songs for this," Mabry said.
    Following the ceremony, World War II veterans will be asked to remain seated so they can be presented with a certificate of appreciation for their service.
    McMullen said his talk would focus on honoring the veterans of various wars and tying it together from a historical perspective.
    In addition to his service, McMullen's father and stepfather served in World War II and his son and daughter were both in the Navy during the Gulf War.

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