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Cumming Memorial Day ceremony today
Events marks site's 20th year
Mem WEB
Cpl. Matthew Lindsey presents a flag to Mayor H. Ford Gravitt during last years Memorial Day ceremony. This years event is set for 11 a.m. today at the Veterans War Memorial. - photo by File photo

If you’re going

• What: City of Cumming Annual Memorial Day Ceremony

• When: 11 a.m. today

• Where: Veterans War Memorial, 301 Veterans Memorial Blvd.

• Cost: Free

An event honoring fallen veterans will take on additional meaning this year.

At 11 this morning, the city of Cumming will hold its annual Memorial Day observance at the Cumming Veterans War Memorial.

Organizer Alison Smith said this year also marks the 20th anniversary of the site.

Mayor H. Ford Gravitt said the memorial was completed during Operation Desert Storm as a way to “honor and respect our fallen heroes and honor the living.”

“They were talking about us losing tens of thousands of soldiers during that invasion … and we just wanted to see what we could do,” Gravitt said. “Myself, the [city] council and the committee got together and we raised independent funds from businesses around town to build the memorial.”

Smith said highlights of this year’s event will include a dove release, remarks from veterans and the annual Avenue of Flags dedication.

Each year, new American flags honoring deceased veterans are added.

Smith said the new inductees bring the avenue up to nearly 200 flags, representing either veterans from Forsyth County or those who are family members of county residents.

She’s happy that several of this year’s additions will recognize individuals and families who have participated in the ceremony since its beginning.

“That’s kind of special that we can do that for them this year,” she said.

The ceremony will also include presentations from veterans groups such as the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Forsyth County Fire Department Honor Guard and local students.

Smith said many volunteers return year after year to the ceremony, which typically draws about 500 people.

“It’s a lot of effort, a lot of time preparing and getting ready for it every year,” she said. “We have a lot of families that come back year after year after year.”

Gravitt said he’s grateful for the chance to honor veterans on the special day.

“It’s just gratifying to me to see the veterans and talk to them and thank them for their contribution to our country,” he said, noting he also enjoys participation from the veterans’ families. “The families suffered probably more than the veterans did, being the ones that were left behind and not knowing whether their loved ones might return home or what kind of shape they would be in if they did return home.

“I’m excited about [the event] and we’re looking forward to a big day to honor and serve our veterans and their families.”