Reflecting upon the day as he prepared to perform patriotic music for Monday’s Memorial Day program, Dr. Michael Braz said “We celebrate Veteran’s Day, but we commemorate Memorial Day.”
Many may confuse the two holidays, but it was clear during the program held in the Emma Kelly Theater at Averitt Arts Center that fellow veterans and other citizens were remembering fallen heroes.
Hosted by American Legion Dexter Allen Post 90, the program included words of remembrance, military songs and an intonement of names of Bulloch County veterans who lost their lives during wars.
Also, Lonnie D. Ellis, a soldier from Statesboro who wrote a book of poetry while deployed to Iraq, shared several of his poems on display in the theater lobby.
Capt. William “Bill” Anderson, USN Ret., gave a rousing speech about America and its reason for existence. A former helicopter mechanic later promoted to Naval intelligence, Anderson spent 31 years in the Navy reserve and upon retirement, worked in manufacturing management and taught operations management at Georgia Southern University.
He spoke about the ideals America represents, quoting writer Brendan Greely; “America has no purpose. That is perhaps its greatest achievement.”
He also read the Declaration of Independence, reminding listeners that America was founded for the freedom that is preserved by the bravery throughout the years.
“It is a simple guarantee we can buy and do things for no reason other than ... satisfaction,” he said. “Those we honor today … served and died for the meaning of those words. We honor with thanks and words of encouragement those who serve today … when you see the Stars and Stripes run up a pole, stand proud.”
Program coordinator Dan Foglio offered a moment of silence at the beginning of the program and remembered three late former speakers; Burton “Burtt Hawkeye” Higgins, Robert Dannacher and Kemp Mabry.
Veterans attending the ceremony were given tickets for a free meal at Vandy’s in the Statesboro Mall as a thank-you for their service.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.