Madison County is “Landing Zone Friendly” to U.S. veterans of all wars again this weekend.
Every year, a large group of veterans gets together for Memorial Day weekend to enjoy companionship with others who understand what they went through. And that old tradition continues this week for the 28th straight year.
The LZ Friendly Camp on Johnny McElroy Road will open to veterans at 7 a.m., Friday, with a weekend full of music, fun and remembrance. The campout will conclude at 1 p.m., May 26. There will be live bands Friday and Saturday night, including the Common People Band Friday night. There will be two meals a day and free beverages for all veterans who make the $35 weekend donation.
The weekend will include Saturday night candlelight service to remember those soldiers who died in action or after their service. That event will take place at sundown. There will be a flag retirement ceremony Saturday afternoon around 3 or 4 p.m. The group will also bury the ashes of long-time campout attendee Billy Cox of Florida at 5 p.m. Saturday.
“He loved this place and asked to have his ashes brought here,” said LZ record secretary Jimmy Grant, who has been with the veterans’ organization since it started.
Grant said LZ has been a lifesaver for him.
“In 1986, before LZ, I felt I was about to say goodbye to this world,” said Grant.
But being with fellow veterans at the LZ camp has been a source of comfort for him — and a number of other U.S. veterans.
“To me, it’s meant coming home,” said Grant of LZ Friendly.
For more on the camp and the weekend activities, visit lzfriendly.com.