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Prayer and patriotism mix at church service

May 20, 2002|BY TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

More than 200 people mixed prayer and patriotism Sunday morning in a musical celebration at Broadfording Bible Brethren Church.

"We thought it was time for something new," said the church's choral director, Susan Freed. "We thought this would say in music what we feel in our hearts for America at this time."

She said she wanted to conduct an event that would celebrate the rebirth of patriotism after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

She picked "Land of the Free," a 40-minute musical that included patriotic narrations by church member Sam Sites and renditions of "God Bless America," "America the Beautiful" and other songs, after searching through music publications for a program that would suit her 27-member volunteer choir.

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The program was followed by the church's regular Sunday service.

Staff Sgt. Michael Alden of the U.S. Army kicked off the celebration by carrying the American flag to the church's altar.

The program wrapped up with the national anthem.

"I think it's neat that it ended with the 'Star-Spangled Banner' because that always hits a special spot in everybody's heart," Freed said.

Many of the 234 people in attendance waved small flags as they sang along throughout the celebration.

"It was a very patriotic program," church member Norm Davis said. "It was well done. We just like to put on a program to honor our country."

Freed said the choir had been practicing the songs since January, and that she became emotional while conducting the choir.

"Sometimes I almost cried when I listened to it because it was so special," she said.

Rick Burkett said he enjoyed the presentation of the flag at the beginning of the celebration.

"I thought it was a stirring tribute, especially at a time when we need to reflect on what's really important to this country," Burkett said.

Freed said she'd like to take the program on the road to perform before other crowds.

"It's so timely," Freed said. "They do a wonderful job."

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