Veterans program planned for Friday

Published 10:17 pm Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Those who make the ultimate sacrifice often do not receive the praise they deserve, Selma American Legion Post 20 Commander Jesus Sanchez said. On Friday, his group, and many others across the county, plans to come together to let these men and women know just how much their efforts are appreciated.

The annual Veteran’s Day program, which will begin at 11 a.m., will again be held at Memorial Stadium and Sanchez said he hopes to see another strong crowd.

To make the program even more special, Sanchez said they will include as many schools and groups as possible.

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“We decided we would try to include as many elements in the city as we possibly could,” he said. “We wanted to include the high schools, and since I have gotten started we have included the Southside ROTC program, the Selma High School ROTC program, the Southside choir and the Morgan Academy band, as well as the SGA programs from each school to place wreaths at the monument.”

Concordia College will also provide its color guard.

One of the most important aspects of the program, Sanchez said, is finding a great guest speaker.

This year, that speaker will be Col. John Gibler, a decorated veteran and director of the Alabama Military Hall of Fame at Marion Military Institute. Former probate judge Johnny Jones will emcee the event.

The program has grown progressively over the past six years, Sanchez said, and has inspired churches and schools to launch appreciation ceremonies of their own. This, he said, has made him especially proud.

“It’s always good to see people honor their veterans at our program and the church programs, especially since we are hearing America is no longer a Christian nation,” he said. “It’s good to see all the churches taking a big part in proving that wrong.”

Following the program, the Rotary Club will have hot dogs and Pepsi colas available for those who want to stick  around and meet some of the veterans.

This year, Sanchez said he hopes the program will continue to grow in attendance to show our fighting men and women how important they are.

“All in all, I feel very proud of the program and we hope it will continue to have more people that will open up and give of their time to honor our veterans,” he said. “Without them, we wouldn’t be celebrating what we are celebrating.”

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