908 AW celebrates veterans and community with Pike Road > Air Force Reserve Command > News Article
MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Alabama —
A more perfect day couldn’t have been asked for – rays of sunshine broke through the partly cloudy sky and a light breeze cooled off an otherwise hot afternoon for the season at Veterans Park in Pike Road, Alabama, on Sunday, November 6 .
Public pride and patriotism was palpable as Troy University Army ROTC cadets presented the colors, Pike Road Middle School Student Government Association led the Pledge of Allegiance and the Pike Road High School Show Chorus performed the moving national anthem. some present to tears.
The Pike Road Veterans Day Ceremony was the 11th in the town’s 25 short years of incorporation. For Mrs. Charlene Rabren, retired Town Clerk, 4th generation area resident and wife of the first Mayor of Pike Road, Mr. Wayne Rabren, the ceremony has a special meaning for her.
“My husband is a veteran, and Pike Road overall loves our military and our veterans,” she said. “If I could say anything to a past, present or future veteran, I would say thank you. I like you. You are very special to us and we deeply appreciate your service.
Col. Craig W. Drescher, commander of the 908th Airlift Wing, was honored as a guest speaker at the event. He began his comments by thanking the community for their support and applauding current Mayor Gordon Stone for his enthusiasm and advocacy for the growing city. Drescher also paid tribute to the students who conducted the Pledge and sang the anthem, and praised the Capitol Sounds Orchestra, saying they were some of the best he had ever heard.
Drescher went on to explain the differences between Veterans Day, Memorial Day, and Armed Forces Day, and that, to him, the differences were slim.
“Sometimes it’s hard for me to separate the three events because the current and former military could easily have become someone we remember on Remembrance Day; someone who lost his life serving us all and that what our great country stands for,” he said. “For many of us, a few precious moments, or a few feet, or a different day could have made the difference.”
Drescher emphasized the bond between the people of central Alabama and the 908th Reserve Citizen Airmen.
“I am honored to be with you here today to celebrate all of our veterans; some scattered across the world and many of our neighbors here with us today,” he said. “Thank you for your continued support.”
Mayor Stone then took the floor and dedicated “special recognition bricks”, engraved with the names of individuals and local veterans in honor of their service to the community. He then called for a moment of silence as a Montgomery ROTC cadet from Auburn University laid a wreath on the veterans memorial while a member of the band played tap dancing on a bugle .
The ceremony ended with a blessing from retired US Army Chaplain Dwayne Hughes and the announcement of the winner of a patriotic quilt provided by the Pike Road Quilters.
Ms Rabren, who led the movement to start the tradition 11 years ago, stressed the importance of the day.
“We’ve always been a patriotic community, and at the start of our city, that seemed like something we should recognize and take time to celebrate.”