COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Veterans Day is a time to recognize and honor U.S. Veterans, those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, showing unwavering patriotism and love for our country. On Sunday, Veterans along side family and friends gathered at St. Mark United Methodist
the annual Pre-Veteran’s Day Tribute Performance by the Columbus Community Orchestra.

The church’s activity building turned into a concert hall as patriotic music filled the room, featuring songs like “American Soldier” and “The Greatest Generation.”

As the U.S Armed Forces Salute played, Veterans and their family members stood for their fight song, which is a long standing tradition. One Veteran stood in attention throughout the salute with one thing on his mind.

I come here because of the soldiers that served under me. I was the platoon leader in the helicopter unit, and I had 40 people I commanded. I came here for them because many of them didn’t come home. And as far as I’m concerned, I have my purpose and my purpose is to remember them.

Robert Madayag, Vietnam War Veteran, U.S. Army

Many fought back tears as the music echoed throughout the room. The orchestra has been hosting the free concert for about 20 years, serving as a thank you to our military.

It’s a very trite saying, but freedom isn’t free. Many people have given their lives so that we can be free in the United States. And we just want to thank everyone for doing that for us.

Wendy Harding, Former President of Columbus Community Orchestra

For Jean McKee, a widow of a U.S. Army Veteran, she has never missed a concert. McKee says she is so proud and honored to have been an Army wife.

I think it’s very important for the for the community to understand that the military family is a family and they give up a lot of freedom so that so that they can be so we can have a free, free country.

Jean McKee, Widow of U.S. Army Veteran

Another free concert is scheduled for Veterans Day at Jordan High School’s Auditorium. The details are below.