By Lindsay Starr Platt
First Baptist Belton church hosted its annual “God and Country” concert for the 45th year on Sunday. The church had 1,000 seats available and it was a full house and a few standing still to take part of this yearly tradition.
“What a great program. So glad that people will stand up and say, “God Bless America” we can’t forget that,” said Miriam Oliver, Belton resident. “We need more programs like this.”
Belton Police Department Color Guard posted the colors at the beginning of the ceremony. Attendees placed their hands over their hearts. Men and women that served in the military were also seen giving a full salute as the flag made its procession to the front of the church.
“What a great way to kick off the Fourth of July,” said Marion Grayson, Mayor, City of Belton. “It was a great show. Get ready to have a tear in your eye.”
The music for the program was both a choir and orchestra. Four worship choirs that included: First Baptist Belton, First Baptist Salado, First Baptist Temple, Taylor’s Valley Baptist Church all worked together singing patriotic music in tune with the accompaniment First Baptist Belton Orchestra.
“I liked the music,” said Elizabeth Burt, 8, Temple resident.
“It was awesome. I absolutely loved it,” said Nancy Geary. “Those that didn’t come really missed out.”
Recognitions went out to all the veterans and active duty in the audience, with special recognition to World War II veterans in the crowd. Attendees were excited to see a familiar face stand up and be thanked for their service by their community.
“I think God’s presence was here,” said Andy Davis, First Baptist Belton, Pastor. “Gary Bledsoe did a great job of leading the performance.”
One of the more poignant moments of the event was the “Laying of the Wreath”. After the wreath was presented and saluted, a few wet eyes could be spotted in the crowd.
“Great respect for our country,” said Jack Oliver, Belton resident, World War II veteran. “I’m here for the guys that died on our mission.”
Mayor Grayson spoke about being the child of both an immigrant and parent who has had family in America before it was even a country.
“God, country, and community, that is what makes this country so beautiful,” said Grayson.