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City pays homage to nation’s veterans

Shown are some of the veterans and guests listening to comments by Mayor Jim Staff, left.

News Staff Writer

About 50 people, including men and women wearing campaign caps from World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf War, crowded into Atmore City Hall’s Council Chambers on November 12 for the city’s annual Veterans Day program.
The event, which lasted about half an hour, featured prayers for and praise for the veterans, as well as their comrades who have passed on and those who didn’t live through the various conflicts in which they participated.
There was also special music, including a powerful a capella rendition of the National Anthem by Megan Young and an equally powerful rendition of “God Bless the USA” by Charlotte Purvis. Members of Boy Scouts Troop 26 presented the colors.
Also, performing with a harmony that exceeded their years, were members of the Escambia County High School Choir, under the direction of Conrad Weber. Weber and the students presented patriotic selections, as well as an emotional tune about a soldier’s final letter home before he paid the ultimate price for his service.
“It went off really well,” Mayor Jim Staff said of the program. “That high school choral group was something else. That one song they did, that was touching.”
The program also included a brief address by Pastor Don Davis of First Assembly of God Church, who also delivered the invocation. After the prayer Davis talked about the U.S. Army’s 328th Infantry, which paid a bloody price in World War I and World War II.
Several Alabama men served in the famed unit, of which Medal of Honor recipients Sgt. Alvin York (WWI) and medic Alfred L. Wilson (WWII) were a part.
“One day these men were milking cows and plowing mules; the next, they were off to war,” Davis said.

The local pastor noted that 1st Lt. Lee M. Otts, who graduated from University of Alabama Law School and later practiced law in Brewton, was a part of the infantry outfit. Otts suffered a broken jaw from mortar shrapnel, then his right shoulder was broken when a sniper’s bullet hit him on the way to an aid station.
Pastor Glenn Wardrop of Atmore’s Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints and VFW Post 7016 Chaplain delivered the closing prayer, bringing the annual salute to an end.