As the words to patriotic songs rolled easily off the tongues of those gathered in Central Park Wednesday night, it was readily apparent that patriotism is alive and well in Ardmore.

An estimated 330 attended the City-Wide Patriotic Rally, sponsored by Emmanuel Baptist, shattering previous records in the process. Throughout the evening, people were treated to the Emmanuel Baptist Church Orchestra providing music with messages of inspiration mixed in between. Sen. Frank Simpson (R-Ardmore) served as the keynote speaker.

"The last two years have been blistering hot, but this has been wonderful," Pastor Donny Custar said. "This is the largest year we have had."

Custar said the crowd, which was made up of different races and political parties, came together for a common purpose.

"You had everyone here celebrating our country; celebrating our Christianity together and that is the way it should be," he said.

The messages offered throughout the evening focused on the virtues of the men and ideas, which have made this nation great. The United States was praised as, "The place you can fly as high as your dreams can take you."

The men who founded the nation were highlighted for their foresight and ideas in forming the foundation of the country. Simpson specified an example of the premise that our rights are inalienable.

"They recognized our rights come from God, not from man," Simpson said, "From God, not from government."

Simpson talked about a nation under attack from those who only look for what is wrong with the country rather than what is right. He said God-fearing Christians need to become better informed about America, as we live in challenging times.

"This heritage, we should humbly be thankful and grateful for," Simpson said. "Freedom is a very precious and a very fragile gift."

In closing, Simpson asked those in attendance to remember those who are on the front lines, protecting the nation. He said every conflict has its own characteristic, but all are familiar to each other in that freedom is protected.

"I pray tonight that these young men and women that serve know their sacrifices are appreciated," Simpson said.