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Armed Forces Day celebration set for Saturday

This Saturday, there will be a special ceremony at the Marengo County Courthouse in Linden honoring the veterans who have served in the defense of our country.

The public is welcome to attend.

The Armed Forces Day ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. in front of the courthouse adjacent to the Veterans Memorial. Linden mayor Mitzi Gates will welcome those on hand.

An invocation will be given by Brooks Barkley, the interim pastor at the First Baptist Church of Demopolis and a retired colonel and chaplain. The Demopolis Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) will present the colors, and those on hand will be asked to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Billy Drake, the commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 6022, will give welcoming comments, and Lee Belcher, the commander of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Chapter 31, will give a brief history of the Veterans Memorial.

All veterans will be recognized at the ceremony, and special recognition will be given to World War II and Korean War veterans.

The keynote speaker will be Rear Adm. B.W. Compton (ret.) of Demopolis, the first commander of the aircraft carrier Nimitz who was awarded the Navy Cross.

“I called Henry Harrison, who is the only man in this area that I know of who is a World War II and a Korean War veteran,” said ceremony organizer Tom Boggs. “He is going to make every effort to be at the ceremony.

“The ceremony will be short and sweet, but it’ll be impressive. It is so important to do this more and more these days because we owe all of these freedoms to the military guys, not the politicians!”

Armed Forces Day began in 1949 to honor Americans serving in the five U.S. military branches — the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard — following the consolidation of the services into the Department of Defense.

Armed Forces Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in May, coming near the end of Armed Forces Week, which runs from the second Saturday to the third Sunday in May.