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Memorial Day ceremony is Friday
City observance at war monument
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Forsyth County News

If you’re going
* What: City of Cumming Annual Memorial Day Ceremony
* When: 11 a.m. Friday
* Where: Veterans War Memorial, 301 Veterans Memorial Blvd.
* Cost: Free

* VFW Post 9142 will hold an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast from 8 to 10 a.m. Friday at its building, 1045 Dahlonega Hwy. Cost is $5.

Forsyth County’s fallen veterans will be remembered during a ceremony Friday morning at the Cumming Veterans War Memorial.

Alison Smith, a city employee and organizer of the event, said some of the highlights will include the annual Avenue of Flags dedication and a release of doves.

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

“This year we’ll have 11 new dedications ... in total, we have 182 flags,” she said. “They represent either someone from Forsyth County or family members of county residents.”

Smith said the dove release was held for the first time at last year's ceremony.

“That was a big hit. They’re homing pigeons, so they fly around the memorial and then go back home,” she said.

The Forsyth County Fire Department Honor Guard and Forsyth Pipe and Drum, a percussion and bagpipe group, will present the colors, and local student Macy Swanson will sing the national anthem.

Martin Ferrell of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1030 will serve as master of ceremonies.

Smith said the day’s speaker typically discusses his personal experiences as a veteran and the meaning of Memorial Day.

“They usually talk about what Memorial Day is all about and why we celebrate it,” Smith said.

The local chapters of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars also take part in the annual observance.

VFW Post 9143 will hold a pancake breakfast, which is open to the public, from 8 to 10 a.m. Friday.

“It’s $5 and all-you-can-eat pancakes, eggs, bacon and sausage,” said Joe LaBranche, a spokesman for the organization. “It’s a joint project with our ladies auxiliary group and the guys.

"The ladies probably do a better job with the cooking, but a lot of the guys take it pretty seriously too.”

He said the group has held the event for the past few years, with proceeds benefitting veterans and their families.

“Afterwards, we all head over to the [city] ceremony,” LaBranche said.

Smith said the annual ceremony draws between “500 and 750 people” per year.

“Since school will be out already this year, it’ll probably be on the high end,” she said.

She noted that the city has held the event on Memorial Day a few times in the past, but usually has a better crowd on the Friday before.

“On Monday, we lose a lot of people who are traveling,” she said.