Liberty’s Salute to America Rally honors veterans, public servants

Published 2:32 pm Wednesday, November 11, 2015

United States military veterans present the colors at a "Salute to America Rally" at Liberty Baptist Church on Nov. 11. (Reporter Photo/Emily Sparacino)

United States military veterans present the colors at a “Salute to America Rally” at Liberty Baptist Church on Nov. 11. (Reporter Photo/Emily Sparacino)


CHELSEA – More than 75 people filed into Liberty Baptist Church’s fellowship hall on Veterans Day for the first “Salute to America Rally.”

Sponsored by the church’s senior adult ministry, the program honored American veterans, current military men and women, first responders, civic leaders, pastors and fallen military men and women.

“We’re just honored that we have the privilege to do this (program) this morning,” Dr. Charles Nicholson, minister of senior adults at Liberty, said, adding Veterans Day is one of his “favorite days.”

“It’s indeed a joy. I love our veterans, what they have done for us and what many of them are continuing to do for us, and what our present military is doing for our nation. They need our prayers.”

After Nicholson read scripture and led a prayer, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Chris George led the Pledge of Allegiance.

The oldest veterans in attendance were then asked to present the colors, after which the Rev. Tim Driskell led the National Anthem and pianist Melodie Dean led the hymn “God of Our Fathers.”

Veterans and current military personnel were asked to stand as Dean played each military branch’s song.

Special recognitions began with first responders, including law enforcement officers, firefighters and Chelsea Citizen Observer Patrol members.

Chelsea Mayor Earl Niven spoke as civic leaders were recognized.

“I am proud to be the mayor of Chelsea,” Niven said. “We have a great city, we have a great country and we ought to be proud of you who have served and those who are serving now. We have so much to be proud of, and through Jesus Christ, we will win the victory.”

Before asking current and former pastors to stand, Dr. Hugh Richardson urged the audience to pray for pastors and anyone else engaging in spiritual warfare.

“We’re in spiritual warfare, and we need to remember and activate this,” Richardson said. “You need to pray for them as they are engaging in spiritual warfare, and as you engage in spiritual warfare.”

Dr. Tim Cox, pastor at Liberty, read scripture and offered a prayer for America to “rise up.”

“The signs of our brokenness glare in the dark landscape of our land day after day,” Cox said. “It’s time––past time––that the church wake up. Church, we need to rise up and be the church of God in the world today.”

Nicholson asked the widows of veterans to stand for recognition.

Ret. Lt. Col. Alan Kuykendall, associate pastor at Liberty, offered a “Salute to the Fallen,” during which he read the Oath of Enlistment and the numbers of American casualties for different wars.

“Our country is in bad shape today,” Kuykendall said. “It’s a tough time. (There are) 1,424,678 men and women that sacrificed their lives so we could live on after their death and destruction.”

“Taps” was played, and Dean played the hymns “My Country, Tis of Thee,” “Rise Up, O Church of God” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” along with a patriotic piano concert.

Nicholson closed the program with a prayer and blessing.