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The traditional Veterans Day ceremony in Cairo is moving to a new location this year due to COVID-19 regulations.
Pastor Johnny Moore, program organizer for many years, says he will host the ceremony at his church, Family Worship Center, on Veterans Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11. However, instead of the customary time of 11 a.m., the remembrance will take place at 7 p.m.
“It will be similar to the downtown events we’ve held,” says Moore. “We will provide music and have the regular service, but it will happen at the church.”
Moore says seats in the church are socially distanced, and while masks are suggested, they are not required.
Grady County third grade students and the Syrupmaker band will be unable to participate, as had also been the standard for many years.
The Veterans Day speaker is a man Moore met while working at a church in Ocala, Florida, former U.S. Navy Lieutenant Mitch Harris.
A native of Florida, Harris was raised in Georgia, and later graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy where he was also a pitcher and utility player on the Naval Academy baseball team.
After serving five years of active duty that included deployments to the Persian Gulf, Russia and South America, Harris joined the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2013 Spring Training. He played in the minor leagues until he was called up to the Major Leagues on April 21, 2015 where he pitched against the Milwaukee Brewers, becoming the first Naval Academy graduate to appear in the major leagues since 1921, just the second to ever do so.
In baseball, he was recognized by the St. Louis Baseball Writers with the J. Roy Stockton/Broeg Award for Outstanding Achievement in Baseball. And, “the Boston Red Sox named him the Tony Conigliaro Award winner, which is given to a Major League Baseball player who has best ‘overcome an obstacle through spirit, determination, and courage that are trademarks of Conigliaro.’”
Harris now lives in Atlanta where he works as a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch.
The pancake breakfast that has been hosted for years by the local American Legion on Veterans Day, has been canceled this year due to pandemic concerns, Moore also reported.