The first year of Columbia County's Veterans Day Barbecue featured a salute to those who served in the Vietnam War, through an exhibition of the traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall.
For this year's event, organizers are stepping back a few years to remember "the forgotten war": The Korean conflict.
"It's in honor of all veterans, but we're focusing on the Korean War this year," says Beth Roberson, the county Recreation Department's special events coordinator. Highlighting the ceremony this year - which opens the nationally sanctioned barbecue contest - are remarks by David Titus of Grovetown, a retired lieutenant colonel and vice commander in chief with the Military Order of the World Wars.
Columbia County is a patriotic community, especially due to the importance of Fort Gordon. That makes the Veterans Day celebration that much more special as a companion event to the county's Memorial Day event each spring.
Saturday's observance at the Merchants Association Fairgrounds on Columbia Road doesn't just celebrate the freedoms our nation's veterans have won for us, however: It enjoys those freedoms to the fullest through the barbecue cook-off.
Now in its second year, the event draws big-time barbecue cooks from all over the Southeast. The winners are invited to compete at Memphis in May, the granddaddy of all barbecue cooking contests.
It's appropriate that this year's Memphis in May was nearly washed away by monsoon-like rains; the contestants sent to compete from Columbia County qualified in last year's Veterans Day event under similar soggy circumstances.
Good weather Saturday would be a real blessing - and visitors will be blessed not only by taking the opportunity to thank veterans for their service, but by enjoying a great community event.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.