By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
City of Cumming holds annual Memorial Day ceremony
Memorial Day
The city of Cumming held its annual Memorial Day ceremony Friday at the Veterans’ War Memorial. - photo by Kelly Whitmire

With patriotic music, a 21-gun salute and lots of American flags surrounding the downtown Veterans’ War Memorial, the city of Cumming’s annual Memorial Day ceremony was hard to miss.

The annual event was hosted on Friday at the Veterans War Memorial and featured speakers, musicians and veterans remembering those who gave their lives for the nation. 

Giving the morning’s keynote address was Georgia Army National Guard Brig. Gen. Reginald Neal, who has served in Afghanistan as an executive officer in National Guard Bureau at the Pentagon and as deputy commandeering general of National Guard Affairs for U.S. Army South at Fort Sam Houston.

“The price paid for freedom is marked by more than just the sheer numbers of casualties,” Neal said. “Everyone needs to understand that behind each number is a name. Behind each name is a person, a real person who gave their life for a cause greater than themselves, and in doing so left behind family, friends and loved ones.”

Since 1995, the city has added names to the Avenue of Flags, which is made up of flags dedicated by members of the community flown for soldiers in their family.

Names added to the Avenue of Flags this year will be Air Force veteran Hulett Byron Bearden, Army veterans Harley Hunter Sutton, Allen “Lee” Russell, Warren Tobin and Charles Barrett Thomas and Navy veterans Frank Ciszek, Denver Ade Martin, William Joel Webb and Louis Wojtysiak.

“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 who served in time of peace, all of whom earned the honor of a military funeral at their passing, an acknowledgement of their service in the United States of America,” said Don Weldon, a local Army veteran, who served as master of ceremonies.

Along with Weldon, Glenda Gray Sand the National Anthem and “God Bless America” and the Rev. Kevin Medcalf, with Providence Presbyterian Church, gave the invocation. 

The Forsyth County Fire and Sheriff’s Department Honor Guard presented the colors, held a rifle salute and played “Taps” before the white dove release by Nancy Kay Duncan. 

“Today, the white doves will fly free as a military salute in honor and remembrance of our fallen heroes,” Duncan said. “The doves will realize their dream to be free in flight, their birthright, with a burning desire to go home. It is our wish and our hope that as you enjoy the beauty of the release and the flight of the doves, that you’ll take a moment to reflect on those that gave their lives to serve and to protect our peace and liberty and that their spirit lives on and has a home in our heart.”


Memorial day
Giving the morning’s keynote address was Georgia Army National Guard Brig. Gen. Reginald Neal. - photo by Kelly Whitmire
memorial day
Forsyth County Fire Division Chief Jason Shivers and Forsyth County Schools Superintendent Jeff Bearden unfurl a flag for Air Force Veteran Huelett Byron Bearden as other family members watch on. - photo by Kelly Whitmire
memorial day
The white dove release by Nancy Kay Duncan.