It would be difficult to sit through the First Assembly of God Celebration of Freedom service and not be moved. Each year, the church holds a patriotic service on the Sunday nearest July 4th. This year, the celebration was held Sunday, July 2.
It’s always a moving tribute to America, Old Glory and the men and women who have fought and continue to fight for our freedom.
Celebration of Freedom featured several patriotic songs by the choir and soloists, as well as narration by Sara Davis and Doug Waters.
Added to the program this year was a POW/MIA Table, on loan from VFW Post 7016. Pastor Don Davis explained the different components of the table, a poignant reminder of those still imprisoned or missing.
Each year, one of the highlights of the program is the story of the shelling of Fort Henry as Frances Scott Key watched from a ship in Baltimore Harbor. All night, the shelling continued. But the next morning, the flag was still there. And Key penned The Star Spangled Banner.
During Celebration of Freedom service, all branches of the military and veterans are recognized, but each year several individuals are selected for recognition.
This year, three men were honored – Lance Corporal John William Spence Jr., Major David Adam McGhee, and Commander Gregory L. Albritton. Also this year, the church honored the Atmore Police Department and the Atmore Fire Department.
Lance Corporal Spence served in the United States Marine Corps, 1957-1963, in Italy, Spain, Turkey, Portugal, Greece, and France. He received the Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, and Marksman Badge.
Commander Albritton served in the United States Air Force and United States Navy, 1973-2005, in the Caribbean, Africa, Cuba, Spain, France, Italy, Israel, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic, in the 1881st Communications Squadron U.S. Naval / Marine Corps, Reserve Center. In the Air Force, he received the National Defense Medal and Good Conduct Medal. In the Navy, he received the Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, and Armed Forces Reserve Medal.
Major McGhee joined the United States Air Force in 2005 and is currently serving. He has been stationed in Kuwait, Africa, South Korea, and Afghanistan. He is with 823d Red Horse Rapid Deployment Squadron Hulbert Field, Fla. He has received the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, and Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, First Oak Leaf Cluster.
The Atmore Police Department, Chief Chuck Brooks, was honored “for the commitment to give professional help to those who are in danger, injured, and to take every precaution to protect and aid our citizens at home and work.”
The Atmore Fire Department, Chief Ronald Peebles, was honored “for the aggressive resolve and courageous skill demonstrated daily to protect and rescue our citizens at home and work.”