For the first time, Columbia County's annual Red, White and Blue Veterans Celebration will be held on the front steps of the Evans courthouse.
Sean Michael McCool, 6 months, whose father, Jeff McCool, was in the Army, napped during last year's Red, White and Blue Veterans Celebration at Doctors Hospital field.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Organizers plan to honor four deceased county leaders who served during World War II, and they'll do so to a soundtrack of the period.
As spectators crowd the lush lawn of the courthouse on Memorial Day weekend, the Boogie Sisters tribute group will perform music of The Andrews Sisters.
The Andrews Sisters brought fame to such hits as Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree and Bei Mir Bist Du Schon. Their USO work took them overseas and to bases throughout the country, earning them the distinction of being the No. 1 wartime entertainers.
The Boogie Sisters "are like The Andrews Sisters," said Stacie Adkins, Columbia County's special events coordinator. "I've heard they are really good."
The celebration is slated for 6:30 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Columbia County Justice Center and Courthouse Annex on Ronald Reagan Drive in Evans. For its first four years, the event was held on the other side of Ronald Reagan Drive in the Doctors Hospital field.
Saturday's celebration will feature special guest speakers Maj. Gen. Janet Hicks, who will be retiring as Fort Gordon's commander in July to become the head of the Augusta Preparatory Day School's upper school. U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood, who underwent a lung transplant in October, also will speak at the event.
The families of four former county leaders and World War II veterans will be paid special tribute at the celebration:
- U.H. Pittman Jr., who died March 26, was a Navy veteran and served a term on the county commission from 1976 to 1980.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
- James Morgan "Red" Fulcher, who died March 30, earned a Purple Heart on the beaches of Normandy and later served terms on the county Board of Education and Harlem City Council.
- Vince Robertson, an Air Force veteran, died Feb. 6. He served as a Columbia County school trustee for four years and two terms on the county commission in the late 1970s and late 1980s.
- John Charles Allen Sr., who died Jan. 6, served in the Army in the India/Burma Theater of the Medical Corps during World War II. He later served on the Board of Education, and retired as assistant superintendent. He also served as interim superintendent.
Also being honored at the event is Bret Godfrey, a 2001 Evans High School graduate who is now a senior airman stationed at Moody Air Force base. Godfrey has returned from tours of duty in Maskrat, Oman, and Karkuk, Iraq, and soon will be deployed overseas again.
A patriotic parade of soldiers and Boy and Girl Scouts down Ronald Reagan Drive will kick off the event at 6:30 p.m. with colors posted by the Evans High School JROTC, followed by a singalong of patriotic tunes and a performance by the U.S. Army Signal Corps Band. Lakeside High School's state champion dual rifle drill team will perform. Kaitlyn Dunaway, 11, of Evans, will perform a patriotic song and dance routine.
James Holloway, a member of Sons of Americal Legion, lights old flags during a flag retirement ceremony at Columbia County's Fourth Annual Red, White & Blue Veterans Celebration at Doctor's Hospital field last Memorial Day weekend.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
American Legion Post 192, of Evans, which retires American flags at the event each year, will again perform a flag retirement ceremony. Old, worn flags can be dropped off at the Legion headquarters off Owens Road or at the event.
Winners of the event's youth coloring contest, America: Strong and Free, will be on display. As it has each year, the event will end with the colorful bang of a fireworks display at 9 p.m., shot from the Doctors Hospital field.
"In fact, this year, it will be eight to nine minutes," Adkins said. "And the music behind it will be Patriotic Symphony."
Seating at the event is limited, so spectators are urged to bring blankets and lawn chairs. Food and beverage oncessions will be available from the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
For more information, contact Adkins at 868-3458.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Columbia County's fifth annual Red, White and Blue Veterans Celebration
WHEN: 6:30-9 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Justice Center, Ronald Reagan Drive, Evans
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