Just Among Friends

This appeared in The Neshoba Democrat - March 2, 2011

If you know Marty Stuart you know how important unity is to him. At the dedication of his Country Music Trail Marker at the corner of Byrd and Beacon, he responded, "When you look at this marker, may it remind you of love, unity and God's grace on one man's life." Thursday, February 24, was a day of unity in our capital city.

Watching the mingling of legislators, news media, youth and visitors of all kinds in the lobby of the State Capitol Building, I had the secure feeling that Mississippi is in good hands. Quoting Merle Haggard after a visit to Mississippi with Marty, "There's just something about this place."

Moving to the Senate Chamber, the Rev. Fred Britton, pastor at First United Methodist Church in Philadelphia, united the session as he prayed for blessings on our state and nation and guidance from above for our leaders. There was participation from the entire Senate assembly and gallery of spectators as Marty and his wife, Connie Smith, led the group in singing, "Will The Circle Be Unbroken."

Marty served as master of ceremonies at the Governor's Awards for Excellence in the Arts staged in the Mississippi Department of Education Building (the former Central High School) in downtown Jackson at 1 p.m. Everyone present was of one mind when Mississippian Mac McAnally sang the song he wrote, "Proud of Where I Come From."

McAnally was the recipient of the 2011 Excellence in Music Award. Heaven and earth became one when Marty and Pastor Evelyn Hubbard of the Commerce Baptist Church in Robinsville performed, "Precious Lord, Take My Hand."

Marty was the 1999 recipient of the Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts for Excellence in Music. In past ceremonies, our friends, Lallah Miles Perry and the late Doris Beery Perry, were also honored with Governor's Awards for Excellence. The program was recorded and will be shown on Public Television Thursday, March 24, 2011 at 8 p.m.

By Rachel Evans

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