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Celebration for World War II veterans planned

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

ALBANY, Ga. -- Late last year, an area World War II veteran, Claude Surface, joined a group of roughly 30 so far to be profiled as part of an ongoing series in The Albany Herald.

Next month, his son is planning something of his own to honor the nation's heroes.

Claude Surface Jr., currently of Loganville, is pulling together a veteran's celebration scheduled for 1:30 p.m. July 10 at the Liberty Parkway Church of God, with the focus being on World War II.

"We are going to have a special celebration for World War II veterans," the younger Surface said.

Surface emphasized that, despite its location, this will not be a religious function. "This is a military service for military heroes," he said.

Veterans from other wars are also welcome, he added.

Various artifacts and photos are expected to be on display. "I want to do a show and tell," Surface said. "People are interested in seeing those kind of things."

There will also be musical performances at the event. The meat of the program, however, will be the veterans in the audience sharing their stories, should they choose to do so.

"Speaking on something firsthand is much better than hearing or reading about it," Surface said. "If they are willing to speak, we would like them to.

"Every story I've heard is marvelous."

Jerry Doyal, a 1961 Albany High School classmate of Surface and the son of a World War II veteran, will be the keynote speaker at the event, the program's coordinator said.

The timing of the celebration is not only close to the Fourth of July holiday, but also to the elder Surface's 90th birthday -- which is July 9.

Although, his son said he is trying to not focus on the birthday aspect of it.

"We will do a private birthday celebration for him the day before," Surface said.

"I want to focus on his life and military career while he can still do it."

The church's auditorium has 750 seats, and the goal is to fill them all. "Through the church, we should be able to get several hundred," Surface said.

Liberty Parkway Church of God is located at 1501 Schley Ave., just north of the bypass. The event will be free and open to the public.

"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity," Surface said. "I like the idea of recognizing heroism."

Those that have been recognized through The Herald's series are encouraged to be present at the event.

For more information, call (770) 977-4853 or e-mail cesurface@mindspring.com.