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Flags unfurled for Memorial Day in Cumming

City honors veterans during annual ceremony

POSTED: May 23, 2014 11:27 p.m.
Micah Green/

Members of Ivan Lamar Orr’s family look on as a flag is dedicated in his honor Friday during the city of Cumming's Memorial Day Ceremony.

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CUMMING — Eleven more veterans have joined the ranks of those who are honored by the city of Cumming every Memorial Day weekend.

On Friday, city leaders held their annual holiday observance at the Veterans War Memorial.

As part of the ceremony, the families of the 11 deceased veterans unfurled flags in their memory, joining the city’s Avenue of Flags along Veterans Memorial Boulevard across from the Cumming Fairgrounds.

Each year, during Memorial and Veterans Day events, the Avenue of Flags is displayed. Each American flag represents one or more veterans from the Forsyth County area.

The display has grown to include more than 200 flags, which are donated by the veterans’ family members and friends.

Linda Gravitt was among the family members who had the honor of unfurling their loved one’s flag during the event.

“It was a beautiful ceremony,” said Gravitt. “It was my daddy and my brother, so it was a beautiful thing to see.”

Gravitt’s father, Johnny Clay Cowart, and brother, Billy Charles Cowart, who both served in the U.S. Army, were honored together on one of the 10 new flags.

Teresa Fowler Bennett honored her husband, William Everett Bennett, who also served in the Army.

“I think it’s such a wonderful thing for the community to know what the men have done for this country and I’m very proud of him,” Bennett said of her husband, who passed away in March 2012.

“I’m very grateful that the city of Cumming does this. They do a great job with it.”

Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt welcomed the crowd of several hundred to the event, reminding attendees that they can never express too much gratitude to all our nation’s veterans.

“They never get enough thank you and admiration for the work they’ve given for the freedom of our country,” he said.

“We’re here today to celebrate the veterans who have given the utmost, their lives, for the freedom that we share here today.”

The Forsyth County Fire and Sheriff’s Department Honor Guards also took part in the event, presenting the colors and a rifle salute to the fallen veterans.

In addition, the North Georgia Barbershop Singers performed several patriotic songs, and Nancy Kay Duncan conducted a dove release, representing all veterans and a wish of peace for the world.

Friday’s program also included a few remarks from the master of ceremonies, Col. Raymond D. Bossert Jr., the brigade commander for the 560th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade.

“Remember when you’re driving by here,” Bossert said of the Avenue of Flags, “that’s blood on a foreign soil, that’s a boat at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, that’s a tank somewhere in a desert or jungle island.

“There’s a name, there’s a face behind every one of these [flags] and we honor those gentlemen for serving. And we honor the ones who made it back from those hard times and died honorably in the states, amongst their families and friends.”


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