Memorial Day service held at Icehouse Amphitheater, Ft. Jackson ceremony is Monday

Allen Wallace photos.

The observance of Memorial Day began early in the Columbia area, as Lexington Baptist Church organized a concert at Icehouse Amphitheater in downtown Lexington to honor the men and women of the U.S. military who gave their lives for their country.

Monday, Ft. Jackson will remember the fallen with a Memorial Day ceremony beginning at 9 a.m. at the Ft. Jackson National Cemetery.

The annual Memorial Salute concert in Lexington Sunday featured the church orchestra and choir, performing patriotic anthems. A crowd of well over 100 gathered despite rainy weather, with many dressed in red, white and blue.

“We have all ages here tonight, and I dare say most if not all of us have relationships present or past with men and women in uniform,” said Lexington Baptist Pastor Mike Turner. Turner and his wife have two sons currently on active duty in the military.

The church opened the family-friendly concert to the entire community, free of charge, and provided free popcorn and water. Food trucks from Pawley’s Front Porch and Pelican’s SnoBalls offered additional food for sale.

The concert began with “The Star-Spangled Banner,” with the wind blowing the flag that gives the anthem its name and many in the crowd reacting with strong emotion, remembering lost loved ones.

“We speak to you today with firsthand knowledge of the meaning of this day,” Turner said. “The liberties that we enjoy require the constant vigilance of the best that our country has to offer, in every generation.”