By Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
East Memorial Christian Academy started out Veteran’s day a bit early this year, as they showed their love and support for U.S. veterans in the school’s gym on Thursday morning.
Brian Easley, headmaster and pastor at EMCA, started the ceremony off by thanking the audience of nearly 200 for taking the time out of their day to be at the school.
“It’s just such a privilege and honor to be here today with such excellent servicemen. Being able to come together under Jesus Christ makes it that much more special,” said Easley.
After the introduction, the Prattville High School Color Guard presented the stars and stripes to the audience before EMCA eighth grader, Katelyn Jackson, sang the National Anthem – after which, EMCA K 4/5 recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
The opening remarks started with EMCA SGA President, Craig Kenady, who also thanked the audience for coming to the ceremony. This was followed by elementary choir singing the Armed Force Melody. Within the song, the students would name off certain branches of the military – to which those members in the audience would stand to be recognized.
Easley then took the stage again and asked those who were 50 years or older in the military to stand and be recognized. He then moved on to 60 years or older, then made his way to 70 years or older where Cecil Deeley, 76, was recognized as the oldest veteran present.
Afterwards, there was an excellent rendition of God Bless the U.S.A by Jeremey Moore, EMBC Minister of Music and Families.
Ultimately, the morning culminated to the guest speaker, Lt. Colonel Kyle Bellue, who shared what he believes Veteran’s Day is all about.
“It’s not just about us,” Bellue said. “As much as I love this country, I love the kingdom of God 100 times more. Those who have accepted Jesus Christ into their heart, they now have dual citizenship. We belong to two kingdoms. The Kingdom of Heaven is led by a perfect leader and is a kingdom that will never end. We should never waste an opportunity to move closer to Christ, and we can use Veteran’s Day as a way to point us in the right direction,” said Bellue.
This garnered a large applause from the audience and put a smile on the face of the already emotional Colonel.
“I still get choked up when I think about this day. I’ve had the opportunity to go to D.C. and meet with WWII and Vietnam Veteran’s. Speaking with people like that – people who have sacrificed so much for this country, it always comes back to me on days like today,” Bellue said.
The ceremony would end with EMCA parent, Travis Tate, playing the trumpet for the audience before Pastor Easley finished with a closing prayer.
It was a great, well-thought out ceremony put on by EMCA that servicemen and woman alike would certainly appreciate forever.