I  attended the city of Albertville Veterans Day program last Friday, and it was nothing less than impressive.

Complete with a beautiful, new veterans memorial, bleachers, cake and blue skies, area residents were able to enjoy a wonderful ceremony celebrating the service of our military men and women of the past, present and even the future.

Army Lt. Col. Charles Segars, an Albertville native and the guest speaker at the event, noted the new generation of service men and women. He said they are a group of great leaders who will help provide a "bright future" for our country.

It took the great leaders of the past to fight and guide us to the "bright" present we live in today. Despite all the problems our country currently faces, we are still blessed and we are still free.

I like the outlook Segars provided. In a time where the newest generations are looked down on and often show so much selfishness and instability, it's nice to know we still have some of hope in those who voluntarily risk their lives and give up months and even years with their loved ones to serve our country.

Speaking of hope, I was also blessed to be part of the Hospice of Marshall County awards banquet Tuesday night. After a wonderful meal, including delicious desserts cooked by HMC staff members, an inspiring young lady named Mary Margaret entertained us. The 8-year-old girl fascinated us with a rendition of the well-known Bible stories of Jonah and David and Goliath. I was not only amazed by her ability to memorize the narratives, but I was captivated by her story-telling ability. She bravely acted out the actions of the characters with voices and all. The crowd got a kick out of her boisterous and malicious Goliath laugh, and stood to their feet in applause after each account.

She also sang one of my favorite Christian songs of all time: "Sometimes by Step," written and originally performed by Rich Mullins.

After her performance, WAVU radio personality George Jones leaned over and said, "There's still hope for the world."

In fact, the whole event proved that statement. I interact with HMC staff and volunteers often through my job here at The Reporter, and I am continually amazed by the heart of caring I see in each one of them. These are people that see some of the most heartbreaking situations a person can encounter every day, and yet they still have the most positive and compassionate attitude of anyone I've ever met. They provide a wonderful service to the community and prove that there is still hope for our society.

Malarie Haven is a staff writer for The Sand Mountain Reporter. Her e-mail address is malarie.haven@ sandmountainreporter.com.

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