Veterans will be remembered and honored in the First Baptist Church, East Daggy Street, Tuscola, on Sunday, Nov. 4, during the “American Sunday” morning worship service. The public is invited to attend this very special service for veterans. A free chicken dinner/potluck will follow the program.
Members of the Illinois Patriot Guard’s Region 4 will begin the service at 10 a.m. The Patriot Guard has an unwavering respect for past and present veterans. Its members serve as honor guards at memorial services for fallen military heroes, first responders, and veterans in general. Lead by Jon Beck of Tuscola, the group has participated in First Baptist Church’s American Sunday for several years, posting American flags inside and outside of the church.
Leading the morning worship service will be Rev. Mike Wilder of Urbana. Reverend Wilder, who is a veteran, received a BA from Eastern Illinois University and then went on to study theology and education/administration at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a passionate follower of Christ, ministering in churches, on Facebook, and everywhere he goes.
Reverend Wilder served in the US Air Force from 1972 to 1976. After receiving basic training at Lackland AFB in Texas, he trained at Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul in 1972 and 1974. He worked on air to ground missiles, including the nuclear weapons system used on B-52 aircraft. Reverend Wilder’s father was a World War II veteran and his grandfather was a World War I veteran.
Although the morning worship service begins at 10 a.m., the public is invited to come to the church earlier that day to view a large collection of children’s military memorabilia that will be on display in the church sanctuary. The collection, privately-owned by church member Lynnita Brown of Tuscola, is displayed annually on American Sunday. Among the items that will be shown are a variety of children’s military tour jackets from Tsingtao, China, Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq. Children’s uniforms on display will include Young Marines, World War I Army Air Corps, World War II WAC and WAVE, Korean War Air Force, World War II Navy, Enduring Freedom jacket with map, and a Popeye uniform (circa 1920). Other items on display will include a Scooby Doo backpack from Kuwait, a rare child’s sweater with World War II unit patches, child’s World War II helmet, vintage celluloid military dolls, old store stock children’s military medals, Sunbrite Junior Nurse Corps cap and apron, children’s military books, and an all-wood World War II commando invasion barge.
The potluck dinner that will follow the morning worship service is also open to the public. It will include fried chicken and a wide assortment of side dishes and desserts. To help the cooks of First Baptist Church determine how much food is needed, those planning to attend the meal are encouraged to call church member Judy Wright at 217-254-6777.
God bless our veterans—not just on American Sunday, but every day we enjoy the freedom they secured for all of us living in America and elsewhere around the world.