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Charles Blalock at last year's program in the Mt. Vernon Theatre

Patriotic Celebration this week

By Michael Butler

The idea of continuing with the annual Patriotic Celebration in Tallassee for 2020 probably seemed far fetched a few months ago, but it is happening.

"We thought we'd just not do it this year," said program coordinator James Bush said, "but we've got to have it.' So, we got busy."

Bush has been a part of the first five events and is excited about a new venue for this year.

"It started at the high school. We had it a couple of years there. Then we had the opportunity to use the (Mt. Vernon) Theatre. When we figured out how many people we could seat, it was just a small amount because of the pandemic."

This year, the 6th Annual Patriotic Celebration will move to J. E. "Hot" O'Brien Stadium. It starts at 7 p.m. Bush talked about the lineup.

"Leslye Ames and Justin Harden will kick it off by playing "Stars and Stripes Forver." Lt. Col. Don Bryant is our emcee. We have a treat. We've got Brock and Gaines Nolin. I don't know if they're going to parachute or what. You need to come and see it."

As always, a variety of music including "God Bless the USA," performed by Bush and Jerry Cunningham, will be mixed with messages from those who haved served. Plus, there will be the traditional slide show "Hometown Heroes." Photo submissions may be emailed to:

"We'll have some audience participation," Bush added. "We'll sing "The Star Spangled Banner," "You're a Grand Old Flag" and "God Bless America." You'll get a patriotic feeling."

Other performers include Mack Daugherty and Susie Seale. Retired Marine servicemen Faron Golden and Joel A. Burdette will speak. Martha Poole-Simmons and Charles Blalock will also offer words of inspiration.

Bush (left) and Cunningham singing "God Bless the USA" at the 2019 event

"They'll be short speeches. We hold them to it," Bush quipped. "It's like the fellow in the Lions Club said, 'I apologize for making such a long speech. I left my watch at home.' The fellow in the back said, 'There's a calendar right there on the wall.' It won't be that long."

Veterans will be honored with the "Salute to the Armed Forces."

"We have the Howlin' Mad Smith (MCL) Detachment from Birmingham. They raise the flag and freeze once they get into the position of the monument of the flag raising at Iwo Jima."

There is no fee but donations will be accepted.

"We do take a collection. It goes to the theater. We hate we can't use the theater, but there will be places to make donations."