A special program was presented: “Freedom is Not Free,” which combined patriotic music with testimony from four seasoned war veterans.
The meeting opened with the roll call and reading of the September meeting minutes by secretary Dortha Townsend followed by treasurer Terry Barger’s financial report.
Membership chairman Nancy Paul presented Janice Cheek and Polly Lee and asked for a vote on accepting them as new club members. Approval was given unanimously.
R.G. Wolf made an announcement about a special Christmas program he will be directing in December at the club’s monthly meeting to be held at the First United Methodist Church.
Milteen Cartwright led the group in singing the hymn, “The Lord Bless You and Keep You,” by Peter C. Lutkin. She had selected it as Hymn of the Month.
Henderson then turned to program director Pam Edgemon, who told her audience that she chose the theme because she grew up in a military family and that she feels deep gratitude for the service the military has been providing to secure and protect our freedom. Therefore, and as a reminder that “Freedom is Not Free,” she invited four war veterans to tell the group in their own words what serving in the military had meant to them.
Each veteran shared his own personal story with the audience. Regardless of which war they had served in, they had in common that same readiness and commitment to put their own lives in harm’s way and make sacrifices as guardians of our freedom, and by fighting for the freedom of others. U.S. Army Sgt. Jared Barton, proudly donning his military uniform, led in singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” with accompaniment by Nancy Paul. The lyrics, written by Frances Scott Key, were set to music by John Stafford Smith and became our National Anthem in 1931.
Andy Hunt sang “Chester,” a patriotic anthem by William Billings, so popular during the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783) that it was only rivaled by “Yankee Doodle.”
Sgt. Barton spoke about his family background and the two tours in Iraq he completed during his five-year service in the Army. He explained that he initially wanted to enlist in the Navy, but switched over to the Army Recruiting Office because the Army, in contrast to the Navy, was willing to let him first finish the classes he lacked to graduate.
Eddie Cartwright volunteered an earsplitting demonstration of striking a “Plow Share” with a hammer. This family tradition is still observed each year on Veterans Day in remembrance of the end of World War I, in 1918.
Ricky Donegan played “Taps” on his trumpet. The familiar tune is credited to Daniel Butterfield. It was first played as a bugle call during the Civil War, in 1862.
U.S. Navy Col. George Lessig described his service in the Pacific where Admiral Nimitz’ Fleet fought Japan during WWII. He called the fight for freedom throughout history “a never-ending journey.” The Hunts sang “This is My Country,” composed by Don Raye and Al Jacobs. Barger accompanied them on the piano.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jim Henderson served in the Heavy Weapons Company during the Korean conflict. He was assigned to train troops because he had a college education. Henderson stressed the importance to “follow orders and put the heart into it to get the job done right, and make the country proud.”
The saxophone/piano duo of Sheridan and Margaret Ann Randolph played “America the Beautiful,” with lyrics by Katharine Lee Bates and music by Samuel Ward.
U.S. Navy Petty Officer Bob Sain, who joined the Navy in 1943, served in Casablanca, Sicily and Corsica among other places. He spent much time training young men. His wish for young people is “to think more of what they can do for the country rather than what the country can do for them.” Paul played George M. Cohan’s “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and Sgt. Barton, accompanied by an audience chorus, closed the program with Lee Greenwood’s song, “God Bless the USA.”
Hot apple cider and an assortment of sweet treats were served by hospitality committee chairman Pat Meagher, Karen Archer and Aggie Scott.