By ANGIE CARNATHAN
On Thursday, Starkville Reads will present “A Salute to Veterans” at 7 p.m. in the Starkville High School Auditorium.
Nancy Hargrove, a former president of Starkville Reads, said veterans are encouraged to attend. She said the group looks forward to acknowledging and honoring these heros among us for their selfless service to our community and nation. The program is open to the public and free of charge.
“We’ve expanded the program this year to begin with World War I and include all subsequent wars through the War on Terror, featuring music from each wartime period as well as historical documents, letters and commentaries by veterans,” Guy Hargrove, performer and member of the Starkville Reads Advisory Board, said. “I’d especially like to thank the Starkville High School Jazz Ensemble and Choral Ensembles for their participation in honoring our veterans.”
Nancy Hargrove said last year’s event, “The Music of World War II” was extremely well-received and there had been many requests made for a similar event this year.
“Last year’s program was attended by over two hundred people, many of whom asked that we make it a tradition,” she said. “The veterans themselves appreciated the community-wide acknowledgement of their service, which it is important for us to honor publicly.”
Nancy Hargrove said this year’s program will feature music, personal reminiscences by veterans and readings of war letters and historical documents from World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War and the War on Terrorism.
“The program will begin with the presentation of the colors by the Starkville High School JROTC Color Guard, and throughout the program various speakers will give historical information on each war and its time period,” she said.
Nancy Hargrove said those speaking include Sally Laughlin, Guy Hargrove, Bob Wolverton, Alveria Crump, Dianne Freeze and Lyle Tate. Letters written by soldiers during World War II will be read by Terry McDowell and Hellen Polk, and veterans Bernard Crump, Joel Okula, Sean McDonnell and Tim Jones will give brief commentaries on their experiences.
“Both of my grandfathers served in the military, and I’m always proud to participate in anything that pays tribute to our servicemen,” Tate said.
Nancy Hargrove said the program will include songs that are familiar and popular to many.
“The music will include such pieces as ‘The Armed Forces Medley,’ ‘It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Ain’t Got that Swing,’ and ‘Route 66,’ played by the Starkville High School Jazz Ensemble, and directed by Doug Thomas,” Nancy Hargrove said. “The Starkville High School Girls’ Ensemble will sing ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B’ and ‘Don’t Sit under the Apple Tree,’ while the SHS Choral Ensemble will perform two Beatles tunes popular during the Vietnam War.”
The groups are directed by Gina Weeks and assisted by Joel Barron. Nancy Hargrove said her husband, Guy Hargrove is also singing “In Flanders Fields” from World War I, and “Too Young” and “My Foolish Heart” from the period of the Korean War.
“The program will conclude with the singing of ‘God Bless America’ by the audience, led by Guy,” Nancy Hargrove said.
Hargrove said Starkville Reads wishes to thank the Starkville Area Arts Council, the Starkville Rotary Club, the Starkville School District, the Starkville High School Administration, Copy Cow, the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum, the Chalet, the SHS JROTC, Wayne Hemphill of the VFW and A.J. Morgan.
For more information, visit http://www.starkvillereads.org . Tax-deductible contributions may be mailed to Starkville Reads, Box 80100, Starkville, MS 39759.