By JACKSON WILSON
Enquirer Democrat Reporter
With COVID-19 infection rates currently low, Blackburn College could finally get back to hosting a Veteran’s Day convocation in the historic Clegg Chapel Nov. 11.
For the first time in three years, the Blackburn congregation packed the pews to honor the United States’ heroes that sacrificed their lives for the nation, past and present.
After a welcome from Blackburn President Mark Biermann, Dr. Joseph Welch performed a piano prelude of “America the Beautiful.”
The ceremony then began with the presentation of the colors, which were provided courtesy of the Carlinville American Legion Guy Baird Post 554, and the singing of the National Anthem by Blackburn soprano Raven Brooks.
Carlinville Federated Church Pastor Mitchell came forward next and led everyone in a responsive prayer and litany that went like this.
“We remember today, O God, all those who have served under the colors of their countries. We commend them to you for their bravery, their patriotism and their honor. Grant that to those who serve today may be kept in your everlasting love and protection. Give comfort and encouragement to their families. We pray for the day when there will be peace on earth and the kingdoms of this world will have become the kingdoms of our Christ. Hasten that day, O God, and help us to live in that hope. Imbue us with the spirit of your love and forgiveness, in order that we may understand the nature of Christ’s kingdom. Hear our prayers for our enemies in the world, that they may be converted to Christ’s will for the nations and join us in a better world community. Let your holy will prevail among all people and your name be exalted forever.”
Following the ‘Amen,’ the Blackburn College choir performed its first of two tunes – “Huddled Masses.”
Former U.S. Army solider Nate Rush then came to the podium to recognize all the veterans in attendance. Loise Wines read a passage from “The Endless Battlefield” and then turned the microphone over to five-year U.S. Navy woman Shelby Besserman, who introduced this year’s guest speaker – retired U.S. Army Sergeant Joe Brashear, who briefly shared the story of his 21-year military career.
To conclude the convocation, the Blackburn College voices sang “The Lord Bless You and Keep You” and Gary Gardner played “Taps” on his trumpet as the congregation took part in a moment of silence for all the veterans that had succumbed.
After the colors had been retrieved, Dr. Welch sent everyone on their way with one final “Salute to the Troops.”
Following the program, the Blackburn students and veterans all gathered in the Auxiliary Dining Rooms for a luncheon.