Marching bands, patriotic displays, music and special remarks by city and county officials will be among the ways those who’ve served in the military are honored Saturday during Mount Airy’s annual Veterans Day celebration.
It will begin with a parade that is scheduled to start from Veterans Memorial Park at 9:30 a.m. and then make its way through the downtown area along North Main Street.
Then at 11 a.m., a formal program is planned at the Mount Airy War Memorial on the corner of South Main and Rockford Streets, where special speakers will include a city commissioner, Shirley Brinkley, a Surry County commissioner, Larry Phillips, and others.
The parade is expected to feature members of marching bands from Mount Airy, North Surry, East Surry and Surry Central high schools; military groups; and other units, typically including an Elks Lodge motorcycle group and more.
Organizers of Saturday’s activities are hopeful that a forecast of sunny skies, after a persistent rainy period, will help result in a big turnout by the public to salute veterans, but it will be on the chilly side with highs in the upper 40s.
Program at memorial
The 11 a.m. service at the city war memorial will include a number of tributes to the military.
Commissioner Shirley Brinkley, the mother of a career U.S. Air Force member who recently retired, says she will use her time as one of the guest speakers to focus on the lives that service personnel and their families lead in service to their country.
In addition to Phillips, the county commissioner, the other guest speakers are Mark Alderman of the Mount Airy Elks Lodge, which supports many patriotic activities, and Mike Scott, Surry County Veterans Services director.
The program will include:
• Opening remarks by Kelly Epperson, master of ceremonies.
• An invocation delivered by Austin Caviness, pastor of Salem Fork Christian Church.
• The raising of the flag by the City of Mount Airy Color Guard.
• The singing of the national anthem by Elizabeth Martin.
• A reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance led by Epperson.
• Welcoming remarks and the reading of a city Veterans Day proclamation by Commissioner Brinkley.
• Remarks by the four guest speakers.
• A medley of service songs performed by Martin.
• Closing comments by Dale Badgett, the president of the Surry County Veterans Council, who is retired from the Air Force.
The 11 a.m. start time for Saturday’s program at the war memorial, and its Nov. 11 date, has special significance, reflecting a Veterans Day tradition launched with the signing of the Armistice in France to end World War I. It went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.