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Cumming marks Veterans Day

Ceremony expresses appreciation, gratitude

POSTED: November 11, 2013 6:05 p.m.
Crystal Ledford/

The colors are presented during the city of Cumming's Veterans Day ceremony Monday at the Veterans War Memorial.

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The city of Cumming’s Veterans War Memorial was filled with plenty of red, white and blue Monday.

In honor of Veterans Day, the city presented its annual ceremony honoring all who have served in any branch of the U.S. military.

Welcoming the crowd of about 500 to the event, Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt said the community should thank veterans more often.

“As a young kid growing up, you get home from school once a month and you bring a report card that has good grades on it, you get special privileges and you get the high-fives from your parents,” Gravitt said. “We never give enough high-fives and congratulations to our veterans.

“It’s not a once-a-year thing, it should be an everyday thing.”

Gravitt noted that there are more than 23 million veterans living in the United States.

“Many have suffered the shock of pain of combat, some have become disabled for life … all who have served have given some of the best years of their lives, and certainly we owe our gratitude.”

The event’s keynote speaker, Command Sgt. Maj. Roy F. Marchert, added that of those 23 million veterans, more than 776,000 “live right here in Georgia.”

“So you do not have to look very hard in our great state to find a veteran,” Marchert said. “More than likely, it’s that gracious person who always seems to be willing to lend a hand or is the most courteous young man or woman you have met in a while.”

Marchert, who began his service in 1989, assured older veterans who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam that the younger generations are taking up the full mantle of honor.

“I want to assure you that your torch has been passed to another outstanding generation of patriotic young men and women,” said Marchert, who leads the 560thBattlefield Surveillance Brigade.

The brigade is headquartered at the Georgia National Guard’s Regional Readiness Center on Aquatic Circle in Cumming.

“Please take comfort in knowing that our military is in good hands,” Marchert said. “The dynamics of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan produced outstanding junior leaders … who are now moving up the ranks.

“Yes, we are good to go in the Georgia Army National Guard.”

Marchert also encouraged fellow veterans to get involved with at least one or more veterans’ organizations in the area.

“Events such as today are extremely important,” he said. “There is no substitute for the relationships that are forged through hardship and sacrifice.”

Besides the speakers, the ceremony also featured patriotic music and readings from the Forsyth Central Flash of Crimson band, the Forsyth Christian Home Educators and Christian Fine Arts of Forsyth, as well as the Chestatee River Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Members of the ladies auxiliary groups of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion posts presented a floral tribute.

The Forsyth County Sheriff and Fire Department Joint Honor Guard conducted a rifle salute, and several musical pieces were presented by Forsyth Pipes.

Boy and Cub Scouts from Troop 245 helped hand out programs for the ceremony.

Marchert said all of the efforts were to honor veterans and remind them of their importance.

“Please know that you are not and will not be forgotten,” he said.

 

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