VALDOSTA -- This year's Annual Veterans Day Celebration will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium.

Every year, the hour-long ceremony honors U.S. military veterans who have unselfishly served during war and peace.

Seven Moody Air Force Base airmen have paid the highest price in defending the United States in the war on terror. Recently, another of Valdosta's sons, Army Pvt. Benjamin Freeman, was laid to rest in Riverview Memorial Gardens after he was killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"To give one hour on Tuesday the 11th doesn't seem to ask too much for businesses to allow employees to come out and honor those men and women, not only of the greatest generation, but of the latest generation, our active duty," said Whit Chappell, president of the Lowndes Veterans Council.

The ceremony is a combined effort from local veterans organizations such as the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, AMVETS Post 607, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Knights of Columbus.

As always, Moody Air Force Base is supporting the ceremony. Members from Moody's Honor Guard, 347th Communication Squadron will monitor the sound equipment, and a representative from the Base Chapel will attend. This year's guest speaker is the 347th Rescue Wing commander, Col. Bradley Heithold. There will also be a flyover of AT-38C aircraft from the 435th Fighter Training Squadron at the end of the ceremony.

This will be Tech. Sgt. Dalton McCloud and Airman 1st Class Michael Pendleton's first involvement with the Veterans Day ceremony. Both are with the 347th CS and will be responsible for setting up the sound system.

McCloud, a 15-year veteran, is the first member of his family to have served in the military and has served in both military actions in Iraq.

"I think it's a great event for the community and Moody Air Force Base," McCloud said of the Veterans Day event.

Moody is the first base that Pendleton has been assigned to in his two years in the Air Force. He's looking forward to supporting the veterans at the ceremony. "You know Valdosta does a lot for Moody, so we can give a little bit back," Pendleton said.

There will be a combined color guard with cadets from the Lowndes High School Air Force Junior ROTC and Valdosta High School Navy Junior ROTC, said retired Lt. Col. Dean Failor, senior aerospace instructor, AFJROTC Lowndes High School.

Cadets will also act as ushers and hand out programs. Cadet commanders from the Valdosta State University AFROTC and both Lowndes and Valdosta JROTC programs will be wreath guards during the wreath laying ceremony. They are Cadet Col. Barry McGee, VSU; Cadet Col. Brittany Falkenhausen, LHS; and Cadet Lt. Adam Nienow, VHS.

Two members from Moody AFB Honor Guard are 2nd Lt. Jason Newcomer and Airman 1st Class Randy Baskin.

Baskin was with the 823rd Security Forces Squadron at Moody for over three years before going to the Honor Guard. "I think it's a great thing to do. These veterans have sacrificed so much for us in the past, that we can sacrifice a little time to honor them," Baskin said.

Newcomer was prior enlisted and served in an honor guard for three and a half years at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. He has been with the Moody Honor Guard for six months.

"Every year, I try to get on the veteran's ceremonies," he said. "I love doing them. Afterwards, you get to talk with so many people and have their experiences they share with you and hear their stories. It's pretty exciting."



To contact reporter Rip Prine, please call 244-3400, ext. 237.

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