It happens again Monday with the 12th annual Freedom Celebration presented by His Hands Extended ministries at 10 a.m. at the Peerless Road Church.
It is a fitting tribute in a community that places distinct value on all matters pertaining to family, country and faith.
We agree with the sentiments expressed by Nancy Neal, a member of the HHE communications team. In explaining the emergence and community growth of this Freedom Celebration (we have two like-named celebrations including the giant fireworks festivities scheduled Monday night at Bradley Square Mall), Neal told our newspaper, “Independence Day is a national holiday traditionally celebrated by relatives gathering to enjoy patriotic displays and songs.”
Twelve years ago, HHE chose to kick it up a notch — a big notch by engaging faith in the traditionally patriotic celebration.
“It’s fitting that the members of the family of God gather to focus on the freedoms we celebrate both as citizens of this great nation and as believers, as well as that we enjoy in this community we call home,” Neal stressed.
The same message was sounded Tuesday by Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis in his weekly column in this newspaper. In it, the mayor urged residents to celebrate July the Fourth inclusive of the Creator.
The tragic events of April 27 have brought yet another focus to this year’s annual HHE observance. As explained by Neal, this July the Fourth celebration of life not only points to the significance of a patriotic freedom and a freedom of worship, but also a freedom to reach out in support of those in need of hope and prayer.
The Cleveland-Bradley Chamber of Commerce vice president of communications explained it best in her own words, “In the aftermath of the tragic storms that wreaked havoc on property and wounded the spirits of so many people in Cleveland and Bradley County, every occasion to gather as a community is a good one. So this year we also celebrate that which was likely seen in those 13 colonies — neighbors helping neighbors, hearts and hands uniting to rebuild our community. This is patriotism at the grassroots level.”
The celebratory morning kicks off with an instrumental music backdrop provided by local musicians Jack Clark, Kevin Mendel and Mary Beth Woods. Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland will provide the community greeting and will be followed by “The Lord’s Prayer,” as sung by Dr. Andrea Dismukes, a talented voice who has served the Lee University School of Music in a variety of roles since 1992.
Her rendition will be followed by Vietnam veteran Steve Orders and his 8-year-old son, Peyton, who will lead in the pledge to the flag. Retired U.S. Navy Chaplain Jerry McNabb will also participate.
The celebration in song will continue with Dismukes performing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” as well as performances by the Kevin Mendel Singers from Grace Community Church and Three Days Later Quartet from First Baptist Church.
A very special guest will be the community-favorite “Voices of Lee,” wonderfully directed by Danny Murray. Since the group’s 1994 debut, “Voices” has captivated audiences around the globe while also gaining notoriety on venues like “Good Morning America,” Bill Gaither’s “Familyfest” and “Praise Gathering,” the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris and England’s Ely Cathedral.
Area residents will never forget how “Voices” served as the finest of Cleveland ambassadors during their heartwarming performances on NBC’s “Sing-Off.”
Monday morning will have a unique ring, one saluting freedoms we hold so dear as Americans — the freedom surrounding our nation’s independence, our freedom of worship and our freedom to join others in a common cause of assembly.
The Peerless Road Church is located at 3301 Peerless Road N.W.
It is a July the Fourth “Freedom Celebration” well worth attending.