A recent sight on the side of Rockmart Highway in Cedartown provided those passing by with a chance to be overcome with a feeling of patriotism.
Several people joined local residents and public officials in front of the Polk County Public Safety Complex on Saturday, Aug. 1, for a flag waving event to show pride in the country, state and law enforcement.
The event welcomed anyone to come out and bring either the American flag, the Georgia state flag or the “Thin Blue Line” American flag, which is a symbol of support for law enforcement. More than 50 people came and stood on the side of the highway with flags.
Brian Williams and Scott Childers approached Polk County Sheriff Johnny Moats about having a peaceful, family-friendly event that would show support for local, state and national leaders and law enforcement. Moats came on board and the afternoon event was set up.
In a year where demonstrations and protests have been held in several cities calling for an end to racial inequality and to re-examine law enforcement practices, Williams said he wanted to show how people still stand behind the government and the country.
“We wanted to have something to show that there is some light and positivity out there with all that’s going on right now. Just have a change of pace and show some appreciation, instead of, you know, outrage. Show some ... thankfulness for this country that we live in, that we can do these things,” Williams said.
Some protests in major cities have resulted in violence and rioting, but Polk County hasn’t had any instances where demonstrations have become unruly.
“I think that’s a good thing that we haven’t had some of those things,” Williams said. “And, you know, getting people together like this is our way of hoping to keep it like that.”
Facebook posts promoting the event discouraged participants from bringing guns under the Open Carry Act, instead focusing on the show of pride by displaying flags.
Williams was encouraged by the number of people who came and said it was very important that the event was about family and something anyone would feel welcome to attend.
“We’re not protesting, we’re not trying to show intimidation or anything to anybody,” Williams said. “The message is pretty simple and straightforward.”
Bryan and Lori Cole came out and took pictures with the sheriff’s office’s Humvee that is painted in an American Flag theme. The husband and wife said they found out about the event on Facebook.
“We wanted to come out to support or country and support our police officers,” Lori Cole said. “And we have a strong military history in our family.”
Lori said their son, Greg Hiett, is at United States Army’s Warrant Officer Candidate School at Fort Rucker, Alabama, while her dad, James Baldwin,is a veteran of both the Vietnam and Korean wars.