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Grand opening of armory set for Sept. 14
Community invited to visit new facility
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Forsyth County News

At a glance

The grand opening ceremony for the Georgia Army National Guard’s Regional Readiness Center is set for 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 14 at the National Guard Armory, 100 Aquatic Circle, off Pilgrim Mill Road near Ga. 400 at Exit 16 in Cumming.

The grand opening of the Georgia Army National Guard’s Regional Readiness Center in Cumming is set for Sept. 14.

The event at the new armory will include interactive displays of military equipment and a parachute demonstration, as well as many family-friendly activities.

“There’s a lot of military equipment that will be out there, but you can see, touch and feel it. They’re all interactive,” said Kimberly Starr, who is helping coordinate the event.

“There’s a ton of stuff that’s going to be happening that you don’t really get to experience in a lot of locations.”

Office in Charge Lt. Col. Erik Andersen said the community should think of it as its armory. And that’s why for the grand opening, officials wanted to do it a little differently.

“Not do the 15-minute grip and grin, smile for the camera, political ribbon cutting, but more open it up to the community so that the community could see what the National Guard has built in their community,” Andersen said. “We’ll show all of the capabilities of this brigade.”

There will be a rock-climbing wall so guests can learn how to repel, and children can sit in a Humvee.

“We’ll let kids jump in and pretend they’re soldiers and text message between a couple of vehicles,” Andersen said.

In addition to the fun activities and about 30 vendors, Andersen said Guardsmen will “talk about the seriousness” of their roles.

“As National Guardsmen, we’re the governor’s force that the president gets to call on when he needs us for national emergencies,” he said. “We’ll have a role call for all the soldiers we’ve lost in Afghanistan and Iraq in the state of Georgia and we’ll be dedicating a tree with a marker for all the soldiers we’ve lost in this organization.”

Guests can also view the armory, wait in a chow line and view the classrooms, auditorium and drill hall, all of which can be rented by the public.

“This is a community facility. They don’t want people to think that they’re closed out of it,” Starr said. “It’s a really impressive facility and they want everyone to understand that they’re here as part of the community and their doors are open.”