Patriotism and faith are the focus of Memorial Day service |

Patriotism and faith are the focus of Memorial Day service

Lisa Marsh / Special to the Tribune
Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune Dan Boone, who serves in the Air Force Reserve, salutes the flag during the Pledge of Allegiance at the Salute to Troops and Veterans service at the First Baptist Church of South Lake Tahoe on Sunday morning.

Memorial Day for some is nothing more than a long weekend, and for others it is a day of remembrance, reverence and patriotism.

“Our nation, our institutions, are emphatically Christian,” Pastor Alan Morse said in his message Sunday at First Baptist Church of South Lake Tahoe. “We find a clear recognition of a basic truth.”

The church hosted a special “Salute to Troops and Veterans” service Sunday, and about 150 people filled the small building.

Three bagpipers on the front steps greeted members and visitors alike for the service. Many participants wore military decorum of varying levels. Memorabilia from World War II through the current Iraq war lined the back of the church. Stories, uniforms and photos of soldiers who survived and those who did not gave tangible evidence of the day and its meaning.

“The forefathers built the nation with the knowledge that freedom was an absolute gift from God. … Faith was part of the very philosophy that made this nation what it is,” Morse said.

Morse’s message followed a lively opening of the service. After honoring service members in the audience and their families, Morse took a moment to also honor police, firefighters and other civil servants. Young and old alike stood and clapped for songs such as “I’m Proud to be an American” and Neil Diamond’s “We Come to America.” The room vibrated with hand-clapping and voices raised in “God Bless America” while slideshow images of flags, soldiers and planes flying in formation filled the background.

Much of the message through music and sermon was about honoring the freedom given to all by the few who fought. According to Carol Olivas of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, there are about 4,000 veterans living in the Tahoe Basin. The service aimed to honor them and many more.

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