Columbia County residents can honor military veterans on Saturday during a patriotic event in Evans that will end with a bang.
The ninth annual Red, White and Blue Veterans Celebration will take place from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at the lawn of the county's Justice Center in the Norwood Freedom Plaza located at 640 Ronald Reagan Drive.
"The courthouse is a great backdrop," said county Community Events Manager Stacie Adkins.
Richard Rogers and Meredith Anderson, of WRDW-TV 12, will serve as the masters of ceremonies.
The Augusta Children's Chorale and the U.S. Army Signal Corps Band of Fort Gordon will provide patriotic music during the evening.
Other activities include posting of colors by Fort Gordon's Joint Service Color Guard and a flag-raising ceremony, which is all scheduled to take place before 8 p.m.
This year, the families of three deceased veterans, who lived in Columbia County, will be given special recognition. Each family will receive a framed flag that has flown over the Norwood Freedom Plaza, where the event is held, said Barry Paschal, publisher of The Columbia County News-Times and co-chairman of the event.
"Because this annual salute to veterans falls on Memorial Day weekend, we thought it would be appropriate to remember veterans from Columbia County who have passed away during the previous year," he said.
The honorees are:
- Edward Hitt, of Grovetown, who served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He died Sept. 5 at age 86.
- Johnnie Hamilton, of Martinez, who served in the Navy during the Korean War and died April 19 at age 80.
- Dr. Maj. Ernest Killgore, of Martinez, who served as a front-line Army medic during the Vietnam War and died March 16.
"This is our way of thanking the families for their loved ones' service to our country, as representatives of all who served in those wars," Paschal said.
U.S. Rep. Paul Broun and Fort Gordon Commanding Gen. Jeffrey Foley will deliver remarks during the event.
The American Legion Post 192 in Evans will sell food and refreshments. Guests are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets.
About 1,500 people attended the event last year, Adkins said.
"Last year, we tried to make it more like a concert," she said. "It went well.
"We liked that families could just come listen to the band and then watch fireworks."
The fireworks show will start at dusk and last about 10 minutes, accompanied by the Signal Corps Band, Adkins said.
The event also will offer children's activities, such as face painting, and a 5-foot-by-16-foot patriotic mural for children to paint on.
For information, call Adkins at (706) 312-7191.
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