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'A morale-booster' - Georgia National Guard helicopters perform Memorial Day flyover across Forsyth County
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Four UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters from Georgia's Army National Guard performed a ceremonial flyover across Northside Hospital Forsyth on Monday, May 25, 2020. (Photo courtesy Charles A. Atkeison)

By Charles A. Atkeison

For the Forsyth County News

Four UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from Georgia's Army National Guard performed a ceremonial flyover across Forsyth County on Memorial Day to remember those who have fallen and salute health care professionals.

The flight traced a circle around metro Atlanta beginning over downtown before moving east to Gwinnett County. The helicopters from the 78th Aviation Troop Command then honored Forsyth County as they flew 500 feet above Lake Lanier and later Northside Hospital Forsyth.

Across the flight path, vehicles slowed along Ga. 400 and Hwy. 20 as the aircraft neared. Hundreds of spectators visited Northside’s parking lots to capture the rare flyover.

"It was patriotic and supportive, and was a morale-booster for those who want to show their support for the people who are helping us," said Dale Henderson, a chaplain and officer in Forsyth County. "I think it's all about community -- showing support for our first responders and our medical staff."

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Spectators watch the Georgia's Army National Guard ceremonial flyover across Forsyth County from Northside Hospital Forsyth's parking lot on Monday, May 25, 2020. (Photo courtesy Charles A. Atkeison)

Hospital staff members used their lunch breaks to observe the low altitude flyover. Cheers and applause broke out as the Blackhawks flew directly over the hospital building aligned in a near diamond formation.

The job of the Army's UH-60 is to transport troops, supplies, and provide medical evacuation of wounded around the globe. The helicopter can transport nearly 2,600 pounds of equipment, or 11 combat troops plus their backpacks.

"We will pause for a few moments this day to recognize the sacrifice of our service members and our families,” Maj. Gen. Tom Carden, Adjutant General of the Georgia Department of Defense, said on Monday. “It is part of our culture to remember and to honor, and it is going to take more than a global pandemic to change that part of us.”

Based at Clay National Guard Center in Marietta, the Georgia National Guard held a virtual Memorial Day ceremony on Thursday. Donned in face covering, Gen. Carden laid a wreath at the center's stone memorial to honor Georgia's fallen.

Charles A. Atkeison reports on aerospace and technology. Follow his updates via social media @Military_Flight.

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Four UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters from Georgia's Army National Guard pass over the new water tower near Northside Hospital Forsyth on Monday, May 25, 2020, as part of a ceremonial Memorial Day flyover. - photo by Jim Dean