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City of Cumming holds annual Memorial Day ceremony
Memorial Day
Georgia Army National Guard Brig. Gen. John T. Gentry, Jr. was the keynote speaker at the city of Cumming's Memorial Day ceremony on Friday, May 27. - photo by Kelly Whitmire

 While others were preparing for barbecues, vacations and long weekends, veterans, family members and local officials came together to remember why Memorial Day is celebrated.

On Friday, May 27, the city of Cumming hosted the annual Memorial Day ceremony at the city’s Veterans War Memorial, which featured speakers, patriotic songs, a memorial wreath presentation and dedications on the city’s avenue of flags, which have been donated by family members of deceased veterans.

“The flags of our nation you will see dedicated and flown today will have been donated by the family members of deceased veterans who served in the United States military,” said Retired U.S. Army/Georgia National Guard Col. Dennis Brown, a former Forsyth County commissioner and emcee of the event.

“Some of the flags are flown for soldiers killed in action, some for those who served in times of war, some for prisoners of war and still others for those that served in times of peace, all of whom earned the honor of a military funeral at their passing in acknowledgment of their service to the United State of America.”

The event’s keynote speaker is Georgia Army National Guard Brig. Gen. John T. Gentry, Jr., who served in several roles, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, has earned awards and decorations including the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal and more.

Gentry noted that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Friday’s event was the first public Memorial Day celebration for many in two years.

“Memorial Day offers a purposeful opportunity to remember and express gratitude for the men and women who have died in service to our nation,” Gentry said. “More than 1,275,000 Americans have died in war and conflict since the Revolutionary War began in 1775. Service members have been fighting for our nation’s independence, freedom and security for nearly 250 years.”

Names added to the avenue of flags this year were:

The event will also see several new names added to the avenue of flags. This year, flags will be dedicated in memory of: 

  • James Daniel Conner, U.S. Navy, 8 March 1948 – 17 May 2021;
  • Hoyt Day, U.S. Army, 12 March 1921 – 7 August 1996;
  • Joseph Frank Ledford, U.S. Army, 16 August 1896 – 1 August 1980;
  • William Clifford Garner, U.S. Army/U.S. Air Force, 16 June 1920 – 12 May 2017;
  • Larry L. Garrison, U.S. Air Force, 10 November 1936 – 11 July 2021;
  • Francis “Mickey” E. Bowen, U.S. Navy, 8 June 1937 – 13 August 2021;
  • Lancelot A. McKelleget, Jr., U.S. Army, 12 October 1939 – 26 January 2022;
  • Lester L. Gault, U.S. Army, 30 July 1912 – 5 December 1986;
  • Patricia L. Gault, U.S. Navy, 4 March 1941 – 2 February 2001;
  • Gary L. Gault, U.S. Navy, 15 October 1943 – 7 February 2012;
  • Willie L. Durham, U.S. Army, 9 April 1934 – 30 September 2021.
“It means so much to us to be able to come together and honor our fallen active-duty service members and veterans,” Mayor Troy Brumbalow said. “I’d like to extend my appreciation to all of today’s program participants, but especially to all of our avenue of flags families. We very much appreciate you all taking time to be a part of this special day. We join with you all in honoring the sacrifices made by your loved ones to our great country.”
Scenes from the city of Cumming's Memorial Day ceremony
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