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Musical celebrates American courage, commitment

July 04, 2010|By KATE S. ALEXANDER
  • Members of the Hancock Assembly of God Adult Choir perform their part Sunday of "The Home of the Brave," a musical celebrating America's courage and commitment.
By Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

HANCOCK -- Eleven score and 14 years ago, words affirmed by 56 men incited the nation to revolution and bred a patriotism that runs deep in the red, white and blue blood of Americans.

"When I see the flag ... it just does something to me," said Pastor Don Preston. "It moves me."

As the star-spangled banner flew above America the beautiful on Sunday, a small group in Hancock filled the Appalachian Mountains with songs written to Lady Liberty, the grand old flag and America.

More than 100 people came to Hancock Assembly of God to hear a performance of "The Home of the Brave," a musical celebrating America's courage and commitment.

"I wanted to honor not only our country, but our veterans," said Choir Director Linda Singleton.

Singleton said she chose the production for the moment when it recognizes veterans and active-duty military personnel.

"Seeing all the vets stand moved me to tears many times," said Stacy Morris of Hancock.

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Members and veterans of American military branches were asked to stand as the choir sang their anthems.

At least 17 men and women stood, some struggling to do so, and remained standing to be honored with applause.

"The Home of the Brave" wove patriotic songs into the story of freedom secured by the country's ancestors and freedom still defended today.

Freedom, on Sunday, was given its due and proper, said Preston, who is pastor of the church.

"To me it is a double blessing to be able to celebrate, on this day, our dual freedoms as Christians and as Americans," he said.

Hancock Assembly of God now owns a copy of the rights to the production, Singleton said, though she said she was unsure whether the choir would perform the entire program again.

"The way our country is going, I fear this could be the last time we get to sing patriotic songs like this," she said, holding back her emotions.

A final chorus of "The Star-Spangled Banner" closed the program, but it was a charge from Abraham Lincoln, read by Kendra Trail, that lingered.

"It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us," Lincoln said in 1863 as he stood not far away in Gettysburg, Pa. Trail continued his famed speech, "That from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion, that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth."

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