92 veterans highlight July 4th celebration
Published 5:44 am Wednesday, July 12, 2000
By By Jerry Gehman
Wow!! What a wonderful night for Atmore. It was long overdue. The emotions of patriotic and community pride ran deep all evening as we came together, not divided by race, religion or social status, and enjoyed a special time. The music was great, the speakers stirred memories and patriotism and the pyrotechnecians did a fantastic job. Thanks to our Heavenly Father for clear dry weather.
This is what we should expect from our community! We can have the best.
From my perspective, the crowning moment of the night wasn't the wonderful fireworks or the great singing and speeches, it was the awesome sight of 92 veterans marching onto the field, young and old men whose personal efforts insures our freedom today, many of which never got the recognition they earned and deserve, standing side by side, many with tears in their eyes as the stands emptied with people raising for a standing ovation. Now that was an awesome sight to see. I'm glad I didn't have to speak then because I couldn't. We owe a debt of thanks to these men and Tuesday night was a great public beginning. My youngest son, Frisco, still marches around the house waving his flag and humming the U.S. Airforce theme. If nothing else came from the night, our young people now know what patriotism is all about! To see the crowd standing up, waving their flags, cheering each branch of the service was fantastic.
I really appreciate the tremendous turn-out of people both in the stadium and in parking lots all over. It's rewarding to have such participation. It shows that we need to continue this effort. Thanks very much for all of the positive comments, e-mails and letters. I'm humbled and grateful to be the vessel through which this event happened but it took much more than just me, it took our entire community. From the Fire Department to the Hooper Matthews cannon to the Chamber Ambassadors, we all pulled together in one direction to make a glorious night. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I love my hometown! ! !
P.S. Here's a personal note of thanks to my dear wife, Faith Gehman, for allowing me to cut short her family reunion trip in Ohio and for missing her Uncle's funeral in south Florida Wednesday, not to mention the many trips and meetings that it took to set this event up.