POTTERSVILLE - Word of Life (WOL) will be hosting a Memorial Day celebration May 30 featuring Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, former United States Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, and Sgt. Gary B. Beikirch, a recipient of the Medal of Honor. More than 1,200 people are expected to attend.
Paul Bubar, assistant to the director of WOL, said the organization had made a "big thing" of Memorial Day for years.
"It's going to be a real foot-stomping, flag-waving, red-white-and-blue hoorah," Bubar said. "It will be about God and country."
Boykin is a controversial figure, who has painted the War on Terror in Biblical terms, and was ultimately fired from his job in the Bush administration for saying of a Muslim warlord, "I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol." Since then, he's said Obama's healthcare law lays the groundwork for an organization which he compared to that of the Nazi brownshirts, "a constabulary force that will control the population in America."
Bubar said he was unsure what Boykin would be discussing, but he guessed Boykin would be talking about his military history, including his role as a founding member of Delta Force, and the recent killing of Osama bin Laden.
"We didn't bring (Boykin) in because he was controversial," Bubar said. "We brought him in because he was an American hero."
Beikirch received the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Vietnam war. His citation states that while defending Camp Dak Seang, he risked his life providing medical assistance to his fellow soldiers and moved them to safety. He continued to do so until he collapsed from injuries of his own.
Bubar said Beikirch is allotted about 10 minutes in the program, during which time he's expected to recap his story.
Boykin will have his book, "Never Surrender: A Soldier's Journey to the Crossroads of Faith and Freedom," on sale and will be available for book signings following the event.
"Memorial Day and the Fourth of July are two great celebratory holidays in America," Bubar said. "It's a time to show our patriotism and love for our country and our love for God. Because God gave us our great country and the freedom we enjoy."
Admission is free, and the public is invited. For more information, call (518) 494-6000.