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Nearly 300 attend picnic with 3rd ID Band

POSTED: July 3, 2013 1:35 p.m.
Photo by Jeff Whitten/

Pembroke’s annual July Fourth celebration at First Baptist Church drew a crowd Monday both for the picnic and the concert by 3rd Infantry Division Band members. Folks enjoyed a meal of hot dogs, baked beans, tea or lemonade and cake and ice cream.

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Pembroke kicked off its annual July Fourth celebration Monday at First Baptist Church with a little rock and roll mixed in with jazz, country and a lot of patriotism.
Around 270 people attended the celebration, which began with an indoor picnic and ended with music from members of the 3rd Infantry Division Band.
For Pembroke Mayor Mary Warnell, who is also a member of First Baptist Church, having the 3rd ID band involved in the city’s celebration of the July Fourth holiday is important. The band has performed at the last three picnics.
“I have always enjoyed listening to patriotic concerts, especially those in Washington, D.C., and Boston in celebration of our independence,” she said. “Since the Fourth of July holiday is about our freedoms we enjoy as a result of those who serve our nation, I felt it was appropriate to include the Army’s band in our celebration. Not only are we entertained by very talented young people, but we also have the opportunity to thank them and show them our appreciation for their service to us and our nation.” 
Former state representative Sonny Dixon, now an anchorman for the CBS affiliate in Savannah, acted as emcee. Several military and civilian officials were in attendance as well, ranging from high-ranking 3rd ID officers and noncommissioned officers and wives to state representatives and city council members.
After an invocation by Bishop C.C. Singleton, pastor of New Order Greater Faith Ministries of Ellabell, the First Baptist Church of Pembroke choir performed under the direction of Travis Moore. Then, around a dozen 3rd ID band members, some of whom recently returned from Afghanistan, took turns taking the stage and wowed the audience as bands called The Cutback, Dream Pocket and Quick Draw belted out rock tunes, original jazz compositions and country and western covers for an enthusiastic audience.
The show culminated with 3rd ID Band members and the audience singing “God Bless America” accompanied by First Baptist pianist Edward Rich, who lauded the bands’ performance.
“It’s hard to put into words what this experience means to me,” said Rich, a Brooklet business owner who once taught  business classes to soldiers at Fort Jackson in Columbia, S.C. “I just appreciate so much what these people do for us and for our country.”
Dixon, a former Marine, urged those in attendance to remember to keep the 3rd ID in “your hearts and prayers” as soldiers begin coming home from the division’s latest tour in Afghanistan.
He also noted Pembroke is a strong supporter of the 3rd ID and the only city of its kind in Georgia in one regard.
“I want you to know you cannot enter Pembroke without passing a Marne Patch. Every single entrance is marked by the Marne Patch,” Dixon said, referring to city signs that note Pembroke’s ties to the 3rd Infantry Division, which got its name from a World War I battle defending Allied positions on the Marne River in France.
Fourth of July celebrations continue Thursday at Fort McAllister, which includes Civil War troops firing salutes to those who died for freedom, games and cool slices of melon. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and folks are urged to pack a lunch and spend the day at the park. Admission will be charged.
Saturday, Richmond Hill’s annual July Fourth celebration, “Richmond Hill Salutes the Red, White and Blue,” is at J.F. Gregory Park and includes the band 3rd Class Citizen, drinks, food, vendors, the famers market, inflatable water slides, fishing and fireworks at 9 p.m.
There’s no charge for the music, water rides or fireworks. Parking is available and spectators are urged to bring blankets or chairs to watch the live entertainment and fireworks and to bring change of clothes for the kids.
Coolers will be permitted but no alcoholic beverages will be allowed.

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