BAY MINETTE, Alabama — Several activities will be held Friday, Nov. 11, to honor veterans as part of the Veterans Day celebration in north Baldwin. The activities will include a breakfast, …
BAY MINETTE, Alabama — Several activities will be held Friday, Nov. 11, to honor veterans as part of the Veterans Day celebration in north Baldwin. The activities will include a breakfast, parade and special ceremonies throughout the day.
The recognition begins at 8 a.m. with a breakfast at the John F. Rhodes Civic Center in Bay Minette. The breakfast is free and open to the public.
The Baldwin County High School ROTC will post the colors for the event. Police Chaplain Robert Gates will give the invocation.
Retired Army Sgt. Matthew Craig will sing the National Anthem and God Bless America. Craig served as teacher with the Baldwin County Board of Education for more than six years before joining the military in 2011. He returned to the classroom this year at Bay Minette Middle School.
He was stationed at Ft. Riley, Kansas, and was deployed to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom 12-13 from May 2012 to February 2013. Craig was awarded the AAM with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, ARCOM with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, Combat Action Badge, and a Meritorious Unit Citation. He medically retired with an honorable discharge in 2014. He now resides in Bay Minette with his wife Arin and son Sawyer.
Mayor Robert A. “Bob” Wills will provide opening remarks at the breakfast and introduce the guest speaker Retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Jamie Barnes. Barnes enlisted in the Air Force in 1994 as a communications systems operator. During his enlisted career he served at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, Lajes Field Air Station, Azores, Portugal, and Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, Montgomery.
While at Maxwell-Gunter, Barnes completed his Bachelor’s Degree in business management from Faulkner University and was selected to attend officer training school. He received his commission in 2002 as a cyber warfare operations officer and was assigned to Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. He went on to complete his Master’s Degree in computer systems management from Webster University in Missouri. After serving at Scott Air Force Base, Barnes was again assigned to Lajes Field in Portugal where he served as Mission Support Group executive officer and flight commander of the Special Programs and Projects Flight.
In 2007, Barnes was selected for training into the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and attended the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia. Barnes was then assigned to Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado as a counter intelligence/criminal investigator. In 2012 he was selected for reassignment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point where he taught as an associate professor in the Defense and Strategic Studies Program.
Before retiring in 2014, Barnes served in Combat and Intelligence Operations supporting the Global War on Terrorism and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Kyrgastan, Turkey, Germany and Greenland. In November 2014, Barnes assumed command of the Alabama 931st Junior Reserve Officer Training Program in Bay Minette.
Veteran’s Day Parade and Eternal Flame Ceremony
Following the breakfast, the annual Veterans Day parade will begin at 10:15 a.m. from Bay Minette Intermediate School. The parade will end at the Eternal Flame on Courthouse Square for a brief ceremony.
Kay Corley will sing the National Anthem and Retired U.S. Army Maj. Stephen Sexton will give the invocation. Following a performance of Taps, SFC Todd Jarrell with the U.S. Army National Guard will give the dedication and Corley will sing America the Beautiful.
For the parade, Mabron Williams will serve as the grand marshal. Williams was named the Veteran of the Year by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3568 in Bay Minette. In 1942 Williams left high school to join the U.S. Navy. During World War II, he participated in seven invasions in the South Pacific and received a citation from President Harry Truman for his involvement in World War II along with numerous medals and ribbons. Williams retired from the U.S. Navy in 1962 after 20 years of active service and remained in the Fleet Reserve until 1972 for a total of 30 years of service.
After his retirement from the Navy, he and his family moved home to Bay Minette and he worked for 20 years at Kaiser Aluminum before retiring in 1984.
Williams is an active member of First Baptist Church Bay Minette, VFW, American Legion, Naval Fleet Reserve Association and Masonic Order. He had the privilege of being on the first Honor Flight South Alabama to visit the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., in 2009 with Dr. Barry Booth. Looking back on his life, he said: “I feel it was an honor and privilege to serve God and my country in war and peace times.”
Korean Memorial Ceremony
Another special Veterans Day ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. at the Korean War Memorial monument on the front lawn of the Bay Minette Public Library. The ceremony will include the First Call, lowering of old flag and raising of new one, and the laying of the wreath, among other events.
William F. Green Veterans Home Ceremony
At 2:15 p.m., a ceremony will take place at the William F. Green State Veterans Home in Bay Minette. This event is open to the public.
For more information about these events, call the North Baldwin Chamber of Commerce at (251) 937-5665.