Honoring the red, white and blue

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 1, 2006

The Selma Times-Journal

A spectacular fireworks sky concert will fill Selma’s night sky this Independence Day as the city “Celebrates Freedom, Family and Friends” at Memorial Stadium. Gates open at 7 p.m. Admission is free and refreshments will be sold.

Patty Sexton, who works for the City of Selma’s Community Planning and Development office, said this is the fifth year the city has sponsored the celebration – an event she believes rivals those put on by the nation’s capital.

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“We don’t have the money (Washington, D.C.) throws into their fireworks show, but it’s the same thing, Sexton said. “You’ll get a lot of bang for your buck.”

“If you’ve never been, it’s unbelievable. It’s something people don’t expect to see in a small city.”

Prior to the sky concert, a short program will begin at 8:15 p.m. featuring several city officials. Warren Hinson, public information officer at the Selma Police Department, will serve as the mistress of ceremonies.

The SPD Honor Guard will make the presentation of colors followed by the pledge of allegiance led by Selma Fire Chief Henry Allen. City Attorney Jimmy Nunn will sing the national anthem and Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. will welcome guests.

Lastly, Selma City Council members Geraldine Allen and Jannie Venter will lead the crowd in a community sing-a-long. Songs include “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee,” “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” “You Are My Sunshine,” “We Are Family,” “We Are The World,” and “God Bless America.”

And then the fireworks begin – a 15 to 20 minute custom designed fireworks extravaganza set to patriotic music chosen by city officials, Sexton said. Residents often watch the fireworks from the Selma County Club golf course and surrounding neighborhoods, but Sexton suggests grabbing a seat in Memorial Stadium for the full effect.

“If (the community) doesn’t come, they’re going to miss out,” she said. “It’s a true blessing to see this and it’s a really good gift the city gives to the citizens of this community.”

Sexton added it would be wise for attendees to arrive early, noting Dallas Avenue will shut down during the celebration. An estimated 2,000

people are expected to fill Memorial Stadium Tuesday.

Sexton also expressed her gratitude to the varying city departments that coordinate this event each year.

“I would like to thank all the departments that worked so hard to bring this to the city because people don’t realize the police department, the fire department, the crossing guard and the public works division give up their Fourth of July to put this program on,” she said.