The new Regional Readiness Center for the Georgia National Guard will hold grand opening ceremonies Saturday, and local residents are invited to get a rare behind-the-scenes look at the armory and to meet the soldiers who will be deployed there.
Officer in Charge Lt. Col. Erik Andersen said the event will be something more than a typical ribbon cutting, offering an opportunity for visitors to learn about the role of the National Guard and what having a local armory entails.
Youngsters wanting to interact with soldiers should have a big time at the grand opening, with interactive displays of military equipment and a parachuting demonstration. A number of family friendly events, such as a rock climbing wall, are planned, and vendors will be on hand.
More importantly, however, visitors old and young will have an opportunity to better understand and appreciate the role of the National Guard. While many are familiar with the role of the Guard in responding to national emergencies, it is sometimes forgotten that members of the Guard also are called to duty in warzones such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
A memorial tribute to Georgia soldiers lost in battle in those two countries also is planned as part of Saturday’s events.
Beyond just the new Armory, the grand opening is also an opportunity to reflect on what has become an exceptional development of public entities carrying the Aquatic Circle address.
In an incredibly short period of time the city, through visionary thinking by its leadership and cooperative partnerships with others, has welcomed to the site off Pilgrim Mill Road an exceptional aquatic center, a new campus for the University of North Georgia, a drivers service center location, and now the National Guard Armory.
The clustering of these high-traffic public facilities in such proximity to Ga. 400 reflects an intelligent development plan by the city, and almost certainly assures a spinoff of private economic growth in the area.
We join others in offering a hearty welcome to the Armory and the members of the National Guard who will serve there.