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Citys Twilight event makes an impression
WWII veterans, music featured
Carol LaBranche sits next to Robert Burkhead, a World War II-era Marine, during Twilight’s Last Gleaming. LaBranche’s husband, Joel, served as a Marine from 1965-67. - photo by Jennifer Sami
Duane Hunter was moved Monday night by Cumming’s Twilight’s Last Gleaming presentation.

“It brings tears to my eyes,” the U.S. Army veteran said.

Hunter, who served from 1961-66, and wife Anne said they appreciate the city’s efforts to honor local veterans on Memorial Day.

They also enjoyed dancing to the Noteworthy Show Band of the South’s rendition of Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood.”

The band played hits from the World War II era throughout the event, turning to some slower tunes while Mayor H. Ford Gravitt read the names of nearly 300 veterans who served during World War II.

As the names were read, an old photo of the soldier appeared on a giant screen. The photos survived the courthouse fire in 1973 and were recently compiled by the Historical Society of Forsyth County.

Gravitt told the story of the photos, which family members had tacked to a bulletin board in the courthouse hallway as a tribute to those serving in the war.

“It is my sincerest hope that our community will always remember how you came to live in this sweet land of liberty, that you teach your children and grandchildren the principles of our nation and how our nation was born,” Gravitt told the crowd. “Live by example.”

Monday’s rain moved the event from the Veterans War Memorial to the overhead shelter of the Cumming Fairgounds amphitheater.

Among those in attendance were retired Marines Robert Burkhead and Joe LaBranche. The two are also members of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9143.

LaBranche said the city’s event is a great tribute to those “who died for our country.”

“A lot of people are out barbecuing and forget the meaning of Memorial Day,” he said.

Hunter shared the sentiment, saying “in our whole town, I bet there are only 20 percent of people with flags out.”

“It breaks my heart,” he said.