The Montgomery County-Radford City-Floyd County branch of the NAACP recently celebrated local veterans at Asbury United Methodist Church.
More than a dozen veterans from the New River Valley attended the celebration. The colors were posted by a color guard from the newly created Christiansburg High School Corps of Cadets. Pianist Michael Herndon led the gathering in “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” followed by an invocation by the Rev. Douglas Kanney.
Event Co-organizer Raymond Bishop welcomed the veterans as well as dozens of family, friends and branch members. Following a poem, “On Veterans Day We Honor,” read by Youth Council President Allison Foster, a collection was taken up. The $350 raised will be used to support veterans at the Salem, Va., facility.
After Jason Diggs II sang the John Legend song “Glory,” Youth Council Vice-President Melvin Palmer recited the poem, “Let’s Honor Our Military.” The guest speaker for the event was Gunner’s Mate Elmer A. Bishop of the U.S. Navy, retired. Bishop recounted the stories of a number of African-American servicemen who served during World War II, including William “Bill” Dabney of Roanoke. He reminded those present that “we are free, not because we claim freedom, but because we practice freedom.”
The Glorylanders led the singing of “America the Beautiful” and later returned with their rendition of “Nearer to Thee, dig a little deeper in the storehouse of His love.” Branch Deborah H. Travis thanked the veterans, the organizers, the participants and the attendees and reminded those gathered of upcoming events.
A benediction was offered by the Rev. Sherri Garrett, after which those gathered adjourned for a reception in the Fellowship Hall
The branch will hold its annual celebration of the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, at 3 p.m. at Schaeffer Memorial Baptist Church in Christiansburg. Everyone is welcome. .
Photos (all contributed by James C. Klagge):
- Color Guard of the Christiansburg High School Corps of Cadets
- Michael Herndon, pianist
- Ceremony leaders (l-r): Elmer Bishop, speaker; Raymond Bishop, co-organizer; Deborah H. Travis, branch president; Rev. Terri Garrett, benediction; and Rev. Douglas Kanney, invocation
- Collection ushers (i-r): Melvin Palmer, Vonnie Moon, Allen Palmer, Roxie Palmer, and Christine Heilig
- Jason Diggs II, soloist
- Elmer A. Bishop, guest speaker
- Deborah H. Travis, president