I would like to thank all the veterans, their families and friends who attended last week's annual Veterans Day observance at the Averitt Center in the Emma Kelly Theater.
There were quite a few people in the background that were instrumental in making this endeavor a success.
Bill Price and Vince Garrett of WWNS 1240 who helped promote this event by letting me and Tom McElwee do a "commercial" on the air which friends told me they heard and they attended because of what was said in the announcement.
Jeff Harrison of the Statesboro Herald — what a job you did for me in the papers of Nov. 8 and Nov. 12!
Tim Chapman and Tony Phillips of the Averitt Center who did a lot behind the scenes. Tim was the one who "corralled" the Youth Chorale with the very gracious Sarah Hancock for the entertainment part of the program. They were awesome! They did the Patriotic songs accompanied by my friend Michael Braz.
I want to thank Mark Anderson and Tracy Joiner of Joiner Anderson Funeral Home; without them the Veterans and Memorial Day Programs would not get off the ground.
Before I get into all the participants, I would like to point out how beautiful the program designed by Jamie Gilleland was.
Thanks to the GSU Color Guard for starting the ceremony off right.
Terry Preslar, commander of American Legion Dexter Allen Post # 90, opened the program promptly at 11 a.m. and welcomed the veterans. You did the Post proud.
Chaplain Charlie Williams — he is a WWII veteran and doesn't look a day over 60! He did the opening prayer and a fine prayer it was.
The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Jan Tankersley and the National Anthem was beautifully sung by a fine lady in the truest sense of the word — Patricia Parrish. What a voice. Thanks, Trish.
Statesboro Mayor Joe Brannen welcomed everyone and thanked veterans for their service and what they had done for our country.
Veterans Bob Marsh, Jimmie Alderman and Janie Staggs all spoke about what it means to be a veteran. Great job by all of you guys. Thanks.
Tom Armstrong then gave us a brief history of veterans beginning with the American Revolution through modern wars. It was a great presentation of our history. Thanks, Tom.
Sgt. Byron Mullicum then introduced keynote speaker Tom McElwee. I have been trying to get Sgt. Mullicum on the program for years and asking him to do Tom's introduction was the only reason he agreed.
Tom did an outstanding job. What a speech! He started with the history of America's wars and the various presidents at the time. He mentioned Presidents Lincoln, Kennedy, Teddy Roosevelt and FDR.
He spoke about how our nation was founded and built by immigrants and fought to protect it. It was a lesson we will not soon forget.
After Chaplain Charlie said the closing prayer, the observance ended with the help of Michael Braz and the whole audience singing my all time favorite - Kate Smith and Irving Berlin's "God Bless America."
Senior Vice Commander
Dexter Allen Post #90