Madison Military Family and Community Covenant Signing CeremonyFeb 1st, 2011 | By Submitted | Category: Front Page
Madison, FL – On Saturday, February 5, beginning at 11 a.m., the Madison community will join over 650 communities throughout the country, including over 30 Florida communities that have signed military family and community covenants, by holding a public ceremony to sign the Madison Military Family and Community Covenant. The Covenant is a public affirmation and pledge to support military personnel, military families and veterans. The signing ceremony will be held in the Courtroom of the historic Madison County Courthouse located at 125 Northwest Range Avenue in downtown Madison, Florida, the City of Four Freedoms. The public is invited to show support for military personnel, military families and veterans by attending the signing ceremony.
The Covenant reads, as follows:
We, the residents and friends of Madison, are committed to building strong communities. We recognize:
- The commitment Service Members, Veterans, and their Families make every day.
- The strength of Service Members and Veterans comes from the strength of their families.
- The strength of Families is supported by the strength of the Community.
- The strength of the Community comes from the support of Employers, Educators, Civic and Business Leaders, and its Citizens.
We are committed to:
- Building partnerships that support the strength, resilience, and readiness of Service Members, Veterans, and their Families.
Attending the ceremony will be federal, state and local officials, and military officers and personnel. In particular, Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll, a 20-year naval veteran, will be attending the ceremony and delivering the keynote address. Also, in attendance at the event and addressing the public will be Brigadier General Joseph Balskus, Commander of the Florida Air National Guard and Lt. Col. Daniel O’Grady, Commander, U. S. Army Recruiting, Jacksonville Battalion. Other dignitaries attending the signing ceremony will include representatives of U. S. Senator Marco Rubio and the Pentagon, City of Madison City Commissioners, and other local officials.
Madison has a long and proud history of military service and community support of military personnel, military families and veterans. Beginning in 1864, when the St. John’s Seminary, Dickinson Residence and historic Wardlaw-Smith Gaza Mansion in Madison were used as Confederate hospitals to treat wounded soldiers following the Battle of Olustee fought east of Lake City, to the present day when Madison’s sons and daughters are serving either active duty or reserve duty in defending and protecting our freedoms in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Among Madison’s World War II military war heroes are Captain Colin P. Kelly, Jr. and Lt. Dale M. Leslie. Captain Kelly, a West Point Academy graduate and member of the U. S. Army Air Corps, lost his life during the early days of World War II flying a B-17C Flying Fortress making bombing runs against the Japanese Navy in the first days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. For his extraordinary heroism and selfless bravery, Capt. Kelly was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
Lt. Leslie, a naval aviator, was shot down off the island of Guadalcanal while flying his fighter aircraft in support of U. S. Marines. He eluded capture by Japanese soldiers for 40 days in the dense jungle of the island while battling hunger, thirst, fatigue and infection. He returned home to a life of public service where he served as Clerk of the Court for Madison County for 32 years.
In addition, Elaine Brown, a local Madison High School graduate, enlisted in the U. S. Air Force during the Korean War. She became the first woman to become Wing Commander and was later promoted to the rank of Major General.
A flag retirement and dedication ceremony will be held on the west lawn of the Courthouse immediately following the signing ceremony.