By Riley Manning/NEMS Daily Journal
SALTILLO – Saltillo’s First United Methodist church held its first Veterans Day service Sunday in the presence of a crowd of about 250. Saltillo FUMC has been honoring servicemen all week, inviting veterans to display their war memorabilia in the foyer outside the sanctuary, and lining the driveway to the church with American flags.
“We have displays from soldiers of every war back to World War II,” said Corrine Calvasina, who coordinated the celebration. “There’s not enough we can do to thank them.”
Vietnam War veteran Don Feid’s display even held an actual rifle and a map with dozens of push pins marking locations he has lived or been stationed.
World War II veteran Gene Spearman’s display showed yellowed maps and battle strategies.
“[Spearman] is one of the reasons we’re not speaking ‘sie Deutsch’ right now,” Calvasina said.
Enlisted in the 8th Division of the Air Force, Spearman flew 34 combat missions over Germany in a B17 aircraft. He earned the five clusters, the Triple Crown in terms of Air Force medals.
The service began with the presentation of the American and Christian flags, followed by flags representing the Army, Coast Guard, Marines, Air Force and Navy. The congregation was then led in pledges of allegiance to the American flag, the Christian flag and the Bible.
Pastor Tim Green built his sermon around Second Timothy, Chapter 4, in which Paul, awaiting execution in prison, writes to Timothy, charging him with fulfilling the mission of spreading the Gospel.
“God just laid this message on my heart,” Green said. “In many ways, ministry is like a mission that must be completed.”
Desert Storm and Iraq War veteran, as well as the District Attorney for Mississippi’s First Judicial District, Trent Kelley attended the service with his family.
“It’s always humbling to be in the presence of men who are willing to sacrifice everything for their friends,” he said.