COLUMN: ‘Celebration of Heroes’ is special event for community

Published 3:00 pm Friday, November 3, 2023

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Last week, Covington Veterans Foundation (CVF) founder John Vick devoted this space to all of the events and traditions that make Andalusia among the most patriotic places in the nation.

When CVF was formed in 2019, the board hosted a “Celebration of Heroes” as one of the first events in the newly-renovated Andalusia High School auditorium. If you were there, you will never forget suddenly hearing the voice of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, as a celebration of all heroes, but particularly those who served in WWII, began:

“YESTERDAY, December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”

In 2020, a pandemic forced a year off from the pre-Veterans Day event, and so a pattern was born. In 2021, Celebration of Heroes focused on Vietnam veterans, and this year, 2023, the focus is on veterans of Korea. As in years past, this year’s program will celebrate veterans with a program of patriotic music and dance, as well as songs from the era.

We would like to particularly thank all of those who said “yes” when show director Amy Dugger asked them to perform. Getting this number of performers organized and prepared is no small feat, and we appreciate the many hours or work that have gone into preparing for Sunday’s show.

The free event is again set for the Andalusia High School auditorium, and will be held at 2 p.m. this Sunday, Nov. 5. City ambassadors will assist with getting people who need parking assistance to and from the building. Veterans and Gold Star families will be recognized.

Members of the Andalusia High School Band, directed by Dillon Worley, who will perform include Jordan Jones, Anna Martin, K’lyasia Woods, Nyla Crittenden, Kera Dorsey, Karis Dubose, Mo’Claire Bradley, Montana Carnley Graycie Sansom, Josie Bryan, Kylie Riley, Sam Lawson, Andy Shelander, Elicia Figueroa, Layla Gunter, Adam Peacock, Nathan Shellhouse, George Brooks, Marvin Washington, and J.P. Hardy.

Members of the Andalusia Ballet and guest dancers will perform a beautiful ballet to “America the Beautiful.” Dancers include Andrés Castillo, Michael Matthews, José Soares, Michael Matthews, Ivy Rogers, Mary-Grace Hammett, and Mia Baumgartner.

Andalusia Elementary’s Show Choir, founded last year by Cathy Powell, who directs the group and is assisted by Barbara Peek, will perform. I challenge anyone who loves America to keep a dry eye during their “We Honor You” salute to all who served.

Show Choir members include Aida Bryan, Jacob Buck, Willow Castleberry, Vivian Jenkins, Swinley Roper, Callie Sightler, Clara Stephens, Asher Stuart, Dallas Tyson, Joy Marie Amis, Ava Anderson, Charlie Bozeman, Flora Byars, Liam Couch, Luke Daniels, Pearson King, Taraji Lawrence, Kinley Lawson, Maggie Massey, Greenie McKee, Shay Omstead, Pacey Warren, Ella Kate Worley, Ava Eisenberger Sophie Floyd, Will Hall, Jocelyn Joyner, Aneissa Perdue, Emma Sightler, Karringtin Weaver, Jordan Ellison, Audrey Jordan, Amre Marcotte, Eden Popwell, and Abby Wise.

The brand-new Lower Alabama Community Choir, directed by Eric Mancil, will make its public debut on Sunday. Members include Lisa Aplin, Barbrara Brewi, Hannah Cross, Olivia Ennis, Nancy Everett,Tammy Garrison, Marilyn Herring, Minna Jerkins, Joan Johnson, Joree Jones, Jennifer May, Kim Miller, Carol Polk, Susan Rodgers, Sharron Short, Robin Smith, Evelyn Zuhse, Maggie Anderson, Mary Cross Beth Dean, Emma Beth Ennis, Rhian Grayson, Sandra Green, Dianne Gresham, Harriet Hubbard Katie King, Sylvie King, Sophie Mancil, Jennifer Nevins , Rachael Taylor, Beth Thomasson, Sue Bass Wilson, Bill Avant, Gabe Bracewell, Lee Herring, Dennis Johnson, Ron Nall, Kaelan Smith, Shawn Taylor, Clayton Thomas, Steve Hubbard David Kirkland Chuck Lassiter, James Lopez, Edwin May, Jimmy Rodgers, Wayne Ross, and Danny Zuhse.

Scott Rogers can always be counted upon to come up with music from the era, and this year is no exception. “Colby Carlock & The Hank Williams Revue,” comprised of Colby Carlock, Scott Rogers, Richard Moore, David Pearce, and Ivy Rogers, will perform some very familiar Hank Williams tunes.

Chief Warrant Officer Five Mike Corsaro will provide some thoughts about the Korean Conflict.

CVF thanks all of those who have worked to prepare for this Sunday afternoon’s very special event, and we look forward to welcoming the public to this Celebration of Heroes.

We also hope to see you next Saturday, Nov. 11, at the 10 a.m. Veterans Day Parade, and the program immediately following at the Covington Veterans Monument, located behind Andalusia City Hall.

— Michele Gerlach is communications director for the City of Andalusia and serves as secretary of the Covington Veterans Foundation.