Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Memorial Day - Veterans and Troops remembered.

This article is being added for those who were not able to come to the Memorial Day Program at the Veterans Park. Jack Gilbert welcomed everyone and Cecil Davis gave the invocation. The Girl and Boy Scouts of America led the Pledge of Allegiance, which was followed by Louanne Hutcheson singing the National Anthem. Roger and Keith Knowles recognized the latest Honoree added to the Killed In Action Wall. Norris Garrett dedicated the Contributor Wall of Honor and recognized the Spade and Trowel Garden Club and the Carroll County Master Gardeners for the landscaping, which enhance the park tremendously.
Roger Knowles introduced the speaker, Maj. Gen. Scott Hammond and shared his impressive biography.
Maj. Gen. Scott Hammond made the following remarks:
"I want to thank each of you here today for taking the time to pause and reflect on the true meaning of Memorial Day. We're here to honor the memory of America's Fallen Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen. That they paid with their lives for the freedom we enjoy on holiday weekends such as this is truly sobering. It is proper also that we not forget the pain and loss endured by the families of our war dead. We can only offer our profound gratitude that there have been soldiers, and families, throughout our Nation's history who recognized that freedom sometimes requires the highest in human cost.
The foundation for what we now know as Memorial Day weekend had its beginning during the Civil War. As that war entered its 4th year, civic groups in dozens of cities and towns, throughout both the North and the South, independently pursued various ways to honor their war dead. These spontaneous gatherings in individual communities tapped into a general human need across the Country to honor our fallen warriors.
I'd like to read to you exerpts from General War Order # 11, dated 05 May 1868. This document first finalized and set forth various provisions for Decoration Day, which we now know as Memorial Day. It reads: 'Decoration Day is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, hamlet, and churchyard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit. We are dedicated to preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which bind together soldiers, sailors, and marines. What can more aid to assure this result than cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes? We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.
If other eyes grow dull, or other hands slack, and other hearts cold in this solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain to us.
Let us then, at the time appointed, gather round their sacred remains and raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor, and renew our pledge to aid and assist those they have left among us, their widows and orphans.
I inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year.
Signed: Gen. John Logan, Grand Army of the Republic'
And so here we are, 139 years later, drawn together for the same reasons our ancestors gathered, to pay homage to our war dead. Since the Civil War, many more have fought and died to preserve this great Nation. Through the Spanish American War, and then the War to end all wars, World War I, followed 30 years later by World War II, and then shortly thereafter by the Korean War, and then the Vietnam War, and now in this generation's collective memory, Desert Storm, and Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom, our most precious resource, our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, continue to answer our Nation's call to arms, and some continue to pay the ultimate price.
I stand before you today as representative of the Georgia National Guard. In addition to the scores of Active Duty Georgians who have in recent years died in Iraq and Afghanistan, 26 of your National Guardsmen from this great state have died there in combat. All of these warriors, Active Duty and Citizen Soldiers a like and the families they left behind, deserve never to be forgotten. Their sacrifice demonstrates a continuity of commitment and sends an unmistakable signal that anyone who chooses to confront this Nation and threaten our way of life, does so at their everlasting peril.
So it is well and proper that as we leave this ceremony, and return to our loved ones to share in the special joy that a fun-filled holiday weekend offers, we do so with joy in our heart....
.... for it is precisely this joy that America's Uniformed men and women have always fought for and do so still.
Thank you for allowing me to share these thoughts with you. My wife Cindy, and mother Margaret, both of whom are in attendance with me today, want you to know that we all are profoundly grateful to be in the company of such caring fellow citizens. Have a great Memorial day weekend."
Following the speaker, Sam Pyle and Bill Maddox placed the wreath at the base of the flagpole, while the bagpiper played "Amazing Grace." Closing remarks were made by Jack Gilbert, which included this poem by Rudyard Kipling:
"Both God and Soldier we adore;
In times of peril, but not before.
When perils ended, and all things righted;
God is forgotten, and the soldier slighted."
(Jack added the following lines, considering the sacrifices of the men on our KIA Walls.)
"We gather to honor the men on the wall;
They loved America, and answered her call.
They died for the belief that all men should be free;
They gave their lives for you and for me.
The names in black granite are heroes all,
May we never forget God, or the men on the wall."
Taps were played by Mike Jiles and everyone joined Louanne Hutcheson in singing "God Bless America." The Fly Over was provided by Dan Marnell and Rob Hayley.
Before the program this group was greeting each other ..........
l. to r. Jack Gilbert, Norris Garrett, Roger Knowles, Keith Knowles, and Larry Jennings.
Boy Scouts are pictured during the Pledge of Allegiance.

Louanne Hutcheson sang the National Anthem and led God Bless America.

Maj. Gen. Scott Hammond was the featured Memorial Day Speaker.

James Stephens played Amazing Grace on the Bagpipes during the placing of the wreath.

Mike Jiles provided Taps during the ceremony.

Sandra Verling is holding the architectural drawing that she created.

James Hembree discusses tree planting for Arbor Day.

Representative Tim Bearden volunteers to help secure funding for Phase II Landscaping.
Here he is pictured with Sherrie D'Hollosy (center) and Susan Fleck, from the
Spade & Trowel Garden Club.

Art Soldiers from the collection of Gordon Chandler look very appropriate in the park.


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