MOBILE, Ala. – Flags big and small waved at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park Saturday for the 10th annual Blue Star Salute to Armed Forces Day.
Governor Robert Bentley explained the organization that sponsored the event takes it’s name from a long standing tradition among military families.
“In WWI people would put a blue star in their window if they had someone servicing in the military at that time,” Governor Bentley said.
Not only was the governor at the ceremony, Samo, the War Dog who worked bomb patrols in Afghanistan was also on hand.
In addition to the patriotic music and speeches, visitors were treated to a living sculpture on the deck of the USS Alabama. It depicts a famous work near Arlington Cemetary. The Iwo Jima Memorial shows marines raising the American flag at one of the bloodiest battles of World War II.
Seymour Lichtenfeld spent six months in a German P.O.W. Camp during World War II. He says Arms Services Day has special meaning to him and other veterans.
“It shows that the trials and tribulations that we went through as combat soldiers, it wasn’t for naught. That the people really care, the people really appreciate, and they appreciate the veterans for what they have down and giving them the freedom today,” Lictenfeld said.
At 89 Lictenfeld stays busy making sure the younger generation doesn’t forget the sacrifices so many have made for our country.
“I go out and I talk to the high schools and schools, civic organizations in order to remain them of WWII, and the sacrifices that men and women have made in order for them to be in a free country today,” he said.
And, Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson had a message about the military.
“To the young people that may consider serving in the military that would be one of the top things that I recommend they do. Just because of the discipline that they can learn, the opportunities they would have, the education, absolutely. I strongly recommend it,” Mayor Stimpson said.
More than 400 thousand veterans live in the state of Alabama. That’s almost an 8th of the population.
Organizers say the event is to honor those men and women who are currently serving in the U.S. military and to honor those who have served with the United States Armed Forces and for those who have fallen while in military service.
According to organizers, the day’s events began with a Fallen Heroes Memorial 5K run. This is the first year for this event.
Governor Bentley was the keynote speaker and entertainment was provided by the Roman Street Band, the 151st Army National Guard Band, Murphy High School Band and vocalist Mr. Rob Robinson.
Informational booths from several veteran service organizations were set up along with activities for children.
The Blue Star Salute Foundation said the day’s activities ended with the Gold Star Memorial Service honoring Alabama’s fallen service members since 9/11/2001.