Memorial Day is more than time for a visit to the beach, a day off from work, a family outing or outdoor barbecue.
It is a day of remembering men and women who died during a time of conflict while serving in the U.S Armed Forces.
A program, hosted by American Legion Brown-Wright Post 12, will begin at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 29 in the Veterans Memorial Park near Seaborn Jones Park in downtown Rockmart.
Rev. Billy Chambers will give the invocation and Dean Jarman will lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Amy Cochran will present a musical number – “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Highlighting the event will be an address by Ken Suffridge, U.S. Air Force veteran. He will speak on the meaning of Memorial Day.
Suffridge joined the U.S. Air Force in October 1953, attended Basic Training at Sampson AFB, NY. After technical training he was assigned as a jet engine mechanic.
He later became a missile engine technician, an Instructor Missile Engine Technician and launch operator on the Atlas D, an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). His duty stations included stints in Virginia, Tennessee, Florida, England and Nebraska.
Temporary assignments led him to Delaware, Georgia, Alabama, Arizona, California, Wyoming, Texas, Illinois Mississippi, Louisiana, Colorado, South Dakota, Washington DC and Bermuda.
Suffridge left the Air Force in 1965 after 10.6 years of active duty. Following a 9-year break in service he joined the Georgia Army National Guard at Dobbins AFB in Georgia and flew right seat in the OV-1 "Mohawk" as a Technical Observer.
He was awarded the Soldiers Medal, the Nation’s highest peacetime award for heroism in 1959 for saving the life of an infant in a trailer fire in Norfolk, England. He retired after 22 years of service as a First Sergeant.
Other local events planned to remember fallen war heroes is placing of flags on the graves in historic Van Wert Cemetery by members of the Euharlee Valley Historical Society (EVHS).
Greg Gray, EVHS president, said he is preparing a list of the men that will be placed in the display case in front of the historic church.
Included on this list are:
Albert W. Anderson Ballentine’s Regt. Co. D., 2nd Partisan Rangers Mississippi, Henry M. Brown Co. K., 18th Regt. Georgia, William Newton Brumbelow Co. G, Cobb’s Legion, Georgia, Cavalry, William J. Clark Co. A., 1st Georgia, Cavalry,
David Doyle Heslip War of 1812 Camp; Capt. of 46th Regt., Mississippi Inf., William Hubbard Co. A., 1st Georgia Cavalry,
Joseph D. Morgan C.A. Ga. Militia, William E. Nettles Co. D., 20th Regt. Georgia Volunteers, Infantry, William C. Spence Co. D., 20th Regt. Georgia Volunteers, Infantry, William Newton Strange Co. H., 4th Regt. Georgia Reserves,
James E. Thompson Co. A., 4th Texas Regt., Abraham Huddleston York Co. A., 1st Georgia, Cavalry, Jasper Newton York Co. A., 1st Georgia, Cavalry, Larkin Blake York Co. A., 1st Georgia, Cavalry,
Thomas J. Thompson B. Dec. 18, 1827 - D. Aug. 20, 1900, L.Q.C. Thompson Feb. 16, 1823 - May 27, 1894, John Carmichael Mar 30, 1821 - May 27, 1895, James M. Ware Co. D, Ga. 1st. Inf. Regt., Henry Kingsberry Co. A, Ga. Militia, Jonathan Long Co. A, Ga. Militia,
Jordon Farmer Co. A, Ga. Militia, Joseph C. Hitchcock Co. A, Ga. Militia, John R. Heaton Private, 60th Ga. Inf., Co. H, James R. Robinson Private, Phillips Legion, Ga. Co. D., John Wesley Campbell US Army WWll Purple Heart, Thomas Mac Campbell US Army WWll Purple Heart, Johnny Howard O’Neal US Army Korean War.