‘Stars and Stripes Forever’

Published 4:28 pm Sunday, June 30, 2013

The First Assembly of God choir performs patriotic songs during Sunday's "Stars and Stripes Forever" Fourth of July service.

The First Assembly of God choir performs patriotic songs during Sunday’s  Fourth of July service.

America’s birthday party has kicked off a few days early in Atmore as several Independence Day celebrations have already been held around town – including First Assembly of God’s annual Celebration of Freedom service, held Sunday morning.

The choir donned patriot garb as they performed songs ranging from “Stars and Stripes Forever,” to “Let Freedom Ring” and “Hooray For the Red White and Blue.”

But Sunday’s service was also about honoring the men and women who have fought to preserve the freedom the Fourth of July has come to signify.

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“There is a lot of blood on the flag and we appreciate those men that were willing to lay their lives on the line,” AOG Pastor Don Davis said.

Atmore Mayor Jim Staff was also on hand at Sunday’s service.

“Everyone thinks freedom is free, but it’s not,” Staff said. “I want to thank our veterans for what they have done. Our ancestors fled these other countries so we could be free and we’ve been fighting for that ever since.”

A portion of Sunday’s service was also set aside to honor each individual branch of the U.S. military and local soldiers who served America in various wars.

Those veterans honored with plaques of appreciation included: Staff Sgt. Keel H. Brown; Medical Technician Fifth Grade Sterling E. Fancher; Staff Sgt. Thomas Edward Hawkinson; Corporal Larry J. Jackson; Coxswain Alton Jackson; Sgt. Eddie R. Jeselink, Jr.; Chief Warrant Officer IV Lee V.E. Martin; Private First Class Willis McGhee; 1st Lt. Lee M. Otts; Corporal James E. Pipkin; Corporal E-4 Lawrence F. Vickery.

For more on Fourth of July celebrations around Atmore, including more photos, see the Wednesday, July 3 edition of The Atmore Advance and visit www.atmoreadvance.com for an upcoming photo gallery.