A brisk May breeze whipped the flags above the Veterans Memorial near Seaborn Jones Park in Rockmart as a crowd gathered for the annual Memorial Day observance, hosted by American Legion Brown-Wright Post 12.
The program was opened when Auxiliary President Sheila Brinkley placed a wreath at the “Killed in Action” monument. Following a moment of silence, Dean Jarman and Joe Wallace led the advancement of colors and stood for the Pledge of Allegiance led by Post 12 Commander Vaden Underwood.
Keynote speaker was Bill Dempsey, a member of Post 47 in Calhoun. He spent 36 years in the National Guard and is a past Commander of the American Legion in Northwest Georgia.
His remarks retold the story of American’s fallen heroes and the legacy of these men and women.
“There are white crosses and unmarked or unknown graves throughout the world where brave Americans gave all they had to give for the freedoms we enjoy today,” he said.
Dempsey drew attention to the fact that they were real people with real families that will remember a life cut too short long after the battle is over.
He emphasized that no amount of thanks or sorrow can ever repay the loss, grief and knowledge of families who know their loved one will never return home.
Rev. Allen Carmichael reminded, during the prayer of benediction, that Memorial Day is not set aside for parties and celebrations on the beach, but to remember “sacrifices and hope that the lifeblood of these men and women was not spilt in vain . . . and that we continue to pray for peace as we remember those still serving both at home and abroad.”
The haunting melody of Taps - played by Maurice Sherman – gave a reminder of the truth in these words.
“Why do you look sad? a child asked as family members assisted an elderly man into a car parked near the site. He did not answer but a relative replied, “Pops is remembering another time and place . . .”
A reverent crowd of about 100 people observed Memorial Day Monday morning at the Veterans’ Park in Cedartown.
With the American flag lowered to half mast the veterans and others remembered their friends, family, and neighbors who had died in combat. Speaker 1st Sgt. Joe Dyer said with all the distractions that have become associated with Memorial Day, it is important to remember the true reason for the holiday.
“We’re here to remember the Gold Star mother who gave her son, the widow who gave her husband the children who gave their father,” he said.
Assistant Editor Tricia Cambron contributed to this report.