The Rome Area History Center and Rome Exchange Club will hold brief Memorial Day observances Monday while the Watters District Historic Society will put a virtual observance of a ceremony that was taped earlier this week online for everyone to see.

While it’s not necessarily being promoted as a public event, the Exchange Club plans a wreath-laying ceremony at the Coosa Valley Fairgrounds flagpole, followed by the playing of taps by Bill King, a retired U.S. Air Force veteran.

Anyone who wants to attend can, entering from the rear side of the fairgrounds off Church Street.

“We can’t let the day get away without remembering what it’s all about,” said John Fortune, a member of the Americanism committee with the Rome Exchange Club.

Fortune is a veteran of the U.S. Army who served in Korea, Germany and Iraq among other locations. He understands the significance of remembering those who lost their lives in combat all too well.

“My brigade lost 109 soldiers in 2006 and 2007 when we were deployed to Iraq,” Fortune said. He was a Command Sergeant Major at that time.

The ceremony will be held at noon Monday.

The Rome Area History Center will have an event that begins at 11:30 a.m. Members of the Shanklin-Attaway American Legion Post 5 Honor Guard will be on hand to perform the traditional 21-gun salute in front of the history center in the 300 block of Broad Street.

“The parking spaces in front of the building will be blocked off and people will be able to come and watch,” said Lisa Smith, director of the Office of Tourism which operates the history center now.

She said it will be a very short, somber ceremony with no speakers, just the 21-gun salute followed by taps.

The annual Shannon ceremony was videotaped this past Wednesday with Retired Lieutenant General Billy Brown serving as the keynote speaker. The event, which will be on the Rome Comcast Library Channel 4 at noon Monday. It will also be available on the Watters District Council for Historic Preservation website at www.wattersdistrictcouncil.org beginning at noon.

Scouts laid a wreath at the flagpole in the circle outside the former Galey & Lord plant. A dozen employees of the plant were killed in service in World War II and the plaque near the flagpole in Shannon is one of the oldest monuments in the country dedicated to those who died during that war.

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