Blue Star Salute planned for Saturday

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Shelby County Airport on Saturday will buzz with the sounds of vintage military aircraft, shine with the colors of patriotic flag displays and ring with each striking of the Liberty Bell.

All the military fanfare represents Shelby County&8217;s follow up to last year&8217;s successful Blue Star Salute, held at the American Village in Montevallo.

&8220;The object of the program is to pay complete and total honor and respect to all branches of our military,&8221; said event coordinator Glenn Nivens.

While the event has been moved to a new location at the Shelby County Airport, the influence of Village will still be clear, Nivens said, as will the work of other military, political and citizen groups who helped organize the Armed Forces Day event.

Activities kick off at noon with the display of antique military vehicles and vintage cars, food vendors and Sons of the American Revolution dressed in colonial and militia uniforms.

Ceremonies begin at 3:30 p.m. with the takeoff of Korean-era T-6 &8220;Mosquito&8221; aircraft, a reenactment of the flag-raising at Iwo Jima and the presentation of flags by the Colonial Color Guard and Military Honor Guard.

Also planned are appearances by state and national dignitaries, the firing of a retreat cannon and a &8220;Gold Star Salute&8221; to Alabama&8217;s fallen military personnel.

The event concludes about 6 p.m.

Nivens said the name of the program was derived from a tradition of military families in WWI and WWII.

A bed sheet painted with a blue star was hung to signify a family member who was serving overseas.

A gold star was used to represent a the loss of a family member in the war.

&8220;We are reinstating the emphasis on the blue star and gold star salutes,&8221; Nivens said.

&8220;That&8217;s what we did last year at The American Village and this year it&8217;s gaining even more momentum.&8221;