Local church honors veterans

Local church honors veterans
November 16
04:00 2017

Veterans Day originated as a celebration of the anniversary of Armistice Day, which commemorates the cessation of hostiles on the Western Front of World War I.  On June 1, 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower signed a bill changing Nov. 11 to Veterans Day.

On Saturday, Nov.11, Mt. Olive Baptist Church held its annual Veterans Day celebration.

The service included a performance from the Mt. Olive Baptist Dance Ministry, reflections from veterans and a message from Mayor Pro Tempore and City Council Member Vivian Burke.  There were also door prizes and special presentations included as well.  Toward the end of the service, a candle was lit to acknowledge the veterans that lost their lives in the line of duty while the veterans in attendance stood at attention and saluted.

Following the service, everyone in attendance was treated to a brunch, which included bacon, sausage, eggs, grits, hash browns and more.  People were also encouraged to sit and converse with a veteran while they enjoyed their meal.

The Rev. George Gray, a retired veteran and member of Mt. Olive, gave a heartfelt message about the veterans and what they went through during a tour of duty as well as their return to the United States following conflict.  He feels events like these keeps the memory of fallen veterans alive.

“Days like this are very significant because if it had not been for God, we would not be here,” said Gray.  “The church has to maintain its presence because it was faith that brought us through as veterans.  We appreciate everyone coming out to celebrate us, but there is a better way and that better way is through Christ.”

Many of the veterans in attendance were members of the African-American Veterans Association (AAVA), which is a group that assists veterans in a number of areas, including housing and claims in the city.  They say there are many veterans that are not aware of the benefits they are eligible for, so they help to educate them.

“We assist veterans with things they are qualified for because we have so many of them out on the streets that don’t know what claims they are eligible for,” said AAVA member Calvin Carson.  “We try to help them file their claims or whatever they need to get done.”

AAVA President Herbert Allen said he appreciates Dr. Charles E. Gray (pastor of Mt. Olive) and Mt. Olive for acknowledging the veterans.  He feels that Veterans Day events allow veterans to feel like their service was appreciated.

“This is our second year honoring Dr. C.E. Gray for the appreciation of honoring the veterans here,” Allen said.  “We wanted him to know that we continue to pray for him and thank him for everything he does for the community.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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