The Colony to salute veterans

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A performance by Lee Greenwood, best known for his patriotic anthem “God Bless the USA,” will be one of the highlights of “American Heroes: A Salute to Veterans,” a festival planned Saturday in The Colony.

Sponsored by the city in conjunction with American Legion Post 21, the event will begin with a 5K/10K and a 1-mile fun run, with registration at 6:30 a.m., and continue throughout the day with a carnival, food vendors, exhibits, a car show and other activities at the Five Star Complex, 4100 Blair Oaks Drive.

Greenwood will be featured in the free concert beginning at 7:30 p.m., immediately following a ceremony to honor “American Heroes” that’s slated to begin at 6:45 p.m. on the event’s main stage. He said he will be playing hits from his 1992 American Patriot album, as well as the song that’s celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

Greenwood wrote “God Bless the USA” in 1983, and he said in a phone interview Tuesday that he never tires of singing it.

“There is always a lot of the emotion in the crowd when I begin to sing [that song],” he said.

The emotion isn’t just with the crowd, Greenwood said. He said he often meets veterans and Gold Star Families — a registry of families who have lost a loved one in the military — before his shows, and sometimes the emotion just spills over while he is onstage.

“There isn’t just one memorable moment that sticks out,” he said. “They all do — including seeing American flags out waving in the crowds.”

The Colony’s event, now in its seventh year, continues to grow in scope, City Manager Troy Powell said.

In addition to honoring veterans at the 6:45 p.m. ceremony, the veterans memorial “Honor and Remember” ceremony will be conducted at The Colony’s Five Star Veterans Memorial plaza at 11 a.m.

“We are really excited about the event as it gives us the honor of recognizing those that have served our country and many who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom,” Powell said. “We encourage everyone to come out and help us honor these amazing and dedicated people, both past and present.”

Greenwood said that as Veterans Day approaches, Americans need to appreciate the value of anyone who serves or who has served in the military and to make sure they have proper care.

“We need to do a weighing of priorities in our lives as Americans, and above all, we need to honor our veterans,” he said.

A silent auction will run until 5 p.m. and the money raised will go toward the festival and the Wounded Warrior Project, according to the festival’s website, www.saluteamericanheroes.com.

MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.


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