LONG BRANCH: The congregation of the Second Baptist Church of Long Branch recognized the men and women who served in the military in our nation's conflicts and wars to protect our country and its citizens in a special tribute on Sunday, Nov. 9.
Pastor Aaron N. Gibson, Jr. recalled the traditional November 11, the eleventh day, eleventh hour and eleventh minute that officially marks the day on the nation's calendar. He invited all veterans in the church to march in procession to the front of the church to receive medals from the Veterans Foreign Wars for those serving overseas and to receive individual medals bearing their service branch and flag crest for military veterans who served in their capacities during those periods of conflicts.
Pastor Gibson called each according to the wars in which they served: World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Somalia, Desert Storm / Desert Shield, Iraq and Afghanistan in that order.
As the members assembled before the special recognition, the Celestial Choir sang and led the congregation in "God Bless America" as Pastor Gibson and VFW Post 2226 Past Commander Avery Grant, Colonel US Army Retired prepared to welcome and award the medals to each veteran with a traditional military salute.
Pastor Gibson asked the widows of past servicemen to come forward and be recognized by the congregation. Col. Grant then asked family members - parents, grandparents and other family member of veterans to stand so all could be recognized for the sacrifice and support they had provided for their loved ones.
The ceremony was both impressive and emotional, with faces reflecting the feelings in the remembrances they shared.
In Pastor Gibson's words, "We thank, you God, for all of our Country's Veterans those of past generations and those who continue to earn this title today. May we never forget what our country has asked of them and what they have given in return."