FAIRHOPE, Ala. (WALA) - Hundreds gathered in Fairhope at First Baptist Church Wednesday, July 3 for a patriotic celebration on the eve of our Independence Day. Alabama Governor Robert Bentley was the keynote speaker.
Minister of Music John Baldwin led the singing, directing the community choir.
"The scriptures tell us that no nation rises except for God's blessing, and no nation sustains without it, and so tonight we want to give glory to God for it," Baldwin said.
It was a patriotic celebration, complete with song and detailed explanations on the history of the Star Spangled Banner and the pledge of allegiance.
Of course, a very special guest as keynote speaker Alabama Governor Bentley, there with his wife of 47 years, Diana.
"I think we need to realize what it really signifies," Gov. Bentley said. "I mean, this is Independence Day. This is the Fourth of July of 1776, when our country decided that we would truly be free. It's just a great day, and we need to always remember what it stands for."
Seeing the governor was especially exciting for Baldwin, who recently met him.
"I had an opportunity to have the prayer for the opening session of the House, and then to meet the Governor and speak with him - we really appreciate him and support him," Baldwin said.
This is a bittersweet holiday for Baldwin. His father, Marine Corps Sergeant Ben Baldwin, passed away in April 2013, and this is his first July 4 without him.
"When I see the Marine Corps color guard, it's hard to watch without being choked because of my pride in my dad and my pride in the military of this country," Baldwin said.
Baldwin and other brave service men and women were on our minds tonight - as they should be every night - as we honor those before us who bravely defended themselves against tyranny.
"We appreciate all the men and women who serve on active duty at the present time, because if it were not for our veterans, if it were not our active duty people, we wouldn't be free today," Gov. Bentley said.
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