BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – “On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month when the guns fell silent, we will remember.”
Blue Ridge remembered on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, as the community honored our veterans. The week leading up to this day of recognition was marked with observances held throughout the county.
Fannin County School Systems hosted guest speakers at each of the schools to talk with students about the meaning behind this day of remembrance and appreciation.
Early Saturday morning, residents began to line East Main Street for the annual Veterans Day Parade. Shops displayed their American flags in support of our men and women who have served, and visitors to our downtown area dressed patriotically and waved their handheld versions of Old Glory.
The parade was a beautiful display. Antique cars carried many of our county’s veterans. These veterans ranged from World War II to present day conflicts in the Middle East.
The Fannin County High School Band marched proudly while playing “God Bless America.”
Fannin County Emergency vehicles adorned with flags representing all branches of our armed services followed along.
Members of the North East Georgia Combat Veteran Association rode their motorcycles behind the the emergency vehicles.
The parade began on East Main Street and followed a route that ended at the Fannin Veterans Memorial Park.
It was at this Memorial Service that the unspoken spirit of Veterans Day could be felt and experienced. As the parade made its way to this ending point, veterans and families gathered and filled the seats bordering the memorial.
Veterans from different eras greeted each other and shook hands. Some of these veterans gave hugs, some shared their experiences, and others just silently nodded in recognition of an unspoken story.
This day has a deep meaning for those who have worn the uniform. It is a day where they can meet openly, where they can feel the bond of brotherhood again, and for many, a day where they are understood and where they can feel at ease.
Keynote Speaker Chief Master Sergeant Scott Peters showed this sentiment when he stated, “It’s a day to put veterans first. In peacetime or wartime all veterans have taken an oath indicating that they were willing to offer their lives.”
Peters addressed the struggles that many veterans face when returning to civilian life: “Twenty-two veterans a day take their own lives. This is a tragedy for Americans.”
Speaking to all Americans, Peters urged, “We must be willing to pick them up when they are down, help point out the way (to) a new life when they return home, and carry them when they are weary.”
As he said these words the veterans in the crowd were moved, some hanging their head in silent prayer. For the veterans, this is a part of their story. A story that can only be understood by having served.
Representatives from the Missing in America Project were present to receive a check for monies raised by the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association (CVMA).
Representative of CVMA, Andy Owens, discussed the mission of the Missing in America Project. The organization locates the forgotten remains of veterans left at funeral homes or in medical examiner offices across America.
An example was cited of having recently located remains that had been stored at a funeral home in North Georgia for at least 25 years.
The Missing in America Project will provide a proper military burial in a National Cemetery for the unclaimed remains of their fellow brothers and sisters in arms.
Veterans Day is a day to honor those who serve and have served our country, but for veterans, it is a day to come together. It is a day where an unspoken truth is shared among these brave men and women. It is truth that only comes from experiencing the anticipation of receiving “the call,” and the bravery of answering that call.
This day is for previous generations to show support to the younger men and women currently serving, to let them know that others have been there before. It is a day for younger members of the military to thank the men and women who paved the way for future generations, and to realize that one day they will be that older generation showing support.
It is a day for everyone in America to take a moment and observe the sacrifices made by our military so that we may enjoy a country with freedoms.
FetchYourNews recognizes those who have served in our military both past and present, and we thank you for your service.
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