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‘Because of the brave:’ City of Cumming honors local veterans with annual ceremony
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The Cumming Fairgrounds filled with laughter and music Friday morning as the community came together to honor and celebrate those who served the U.S. during the City of Cumming’s annual Veterans Day ceremony.

The event was hosted by Cumming Chapter 1030 of the Vietnam Veterans of America with many local Vietnam veterans in the audience along with other Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard veterans.

“Today we gather to honor and celebrate all the men and women who have served our country through the armed forces, be that during wartime or peacetime,” Mayor Troy Brumbalow said. “On behalf of everyone at the City of Cumming and our entire community, I’d like to especially welcome all of our veterans and active-duty military personnel who are joining us today.

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The Forsyth County Fire Department and Sheriff's Office Joint Honor Guard presents the flags - photo by Sabrina Kerns
“We know that without the efforts of each and every service member throughout our history, our great nation would not be the land of the free,” he continued. “The remark that the United States is the land of the free is because of the brave. So today, we thank each and every one of you for your bravery, dedication and for defending our nation.”

Keynote speaker Lt. Col. Jeff Davis served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 23 years after growing up in Alpharetta and earning a Bachelor of Science from the University of Georgia. In 1994, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and was later designated as a Naval Aviator in 1998.

During that time, he was deployed twice to the Asia-Pacific region and twice to Iraq where he supported Operation Iraqi Freedom. He retired from active duty in 2018 and has since returned to Georgia to live with his wife and kids in Milton.

“Every veteran here is here by the grace of God,” Davis said. “They survived harrowing situations while others didn’t and could have easily just as perished along with their fellow comrades in arms. It’s a simple reminder to us that life is precious.”

Davis explained that every soldier, marine, sailor and airman makes the choice to serve in the military for a variety of reasons with some feeling a duty to help protect their country and others following long family traditions of service.

“Regardless of their reasons, all raised their right hands and swore to support and defend the constitution of the United States and joined a team that lived together, trained together, ate together, froze at night, sweltered in the heat and sand,” Davis said. “They laughed, they cried, they sacrificed. They felt the sting of battle together.”

He explained it is important to always remember the sacrifices made by veterans and the sacrifices those in service will make for the country going forward into whatever conflicts lay ahead.

Gary Goyette, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1030 President, thanked the veterans for their sacrifices.

“And to the many Vietnam veterans in our audience this morning, I say to you — welcome home,” Goyette said.

Brumablow gave a special welcome to the several veterans of the U.S. Air Force in the audience, noting that 2022 marks the 75th anniversary of the creation of the military branch on Sept. 18, 1947.

The Forsyth County Fire Department and Sheriff’s Office Joint Honor Guard presented the flags as Artios Academy Choral Director Adrienne Gustafson and her daughter, Amelia, sang the National Anthem.

A group of mostly high school students with Artios Academy and Christian Fine Arts of Forsyth performed selections popular during several wars and conflicts including WWI, WWII, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.

The women’s ensemble, The Bettie Brigade, and the men’s, The Java Joes, also performed “Song for the Unsung Hero,” in honor of those who lost their lives during 9/11.