BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – A Memorial Day Ceremony was held at the Fannin County Veterans Memorial Park on Monday, May 27, 2019 featuring a keynote address by former Vietnam Prisoner of War, William “Bill” Robinson.
Robinson, former Captain of the United States Air Force, shared with the audience his horrific war time experiences, as well as his love for his country.
He was presented with an award of appreciation and recognition for services to the United States just prior to the rifle salute and TAPS.
A video of the ceremony containing the following events may be viewed below, along with pictures taken during the ceremony (pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them):
Posting of colors
Pledge of Allegiance
Posting of Wreaths
POW/MIA Missing Man
Keynote address by William “Bill” Robinson (former Vietnam Prisoner of War)
Retiring of Colors
Suggestions are swirling again about a return to the draft. For those born after the 1960’s, the draft was compulsory military service for two or more years. Throughout America’s history from the Civil War to Vietnam, different rules governed who was drafted, how one could get a deferment or a buy out, or get a political commission to work his time on a staff. That was all rife for abuse, and, it was abused.
Deferments were applied to account for medical reasons like, say flat feet and lung diseases, but a medical officer at the induction stations would make that decision. If you got your notice, you had to show up for induction and if you passed, your life changed forever.
Political deferments for celebrities, politicians and sons of politicians, like Ted Kennedy, were created while many others, stood up, begging their way into uniform. John Kennedy and his older brother did so. They weren’t famous then but their father had been US Ambassador to the UK. Hollywood stars flocked to the ranks during WW2 and did their duty as the government needed, including combat.
The draft was a numbers system, most draftees going into the army. With usable skills, one could be enrolled in a technical program for training as a mechanic, medic, or radio operator, otherwise, it was into one of the combat arms, Infantry sucking up the most. Only a few draftees ever went into the US Marine Corps or the Navy, because they filled their needed quota’s with volunteers. Many escaped the draft by school deferments and some when drafted, ran away to hide. During the Vietnam war, it was to Canada.
Many, eager to fight, volunteered to join a combat arm. That’s where the action was. For many, it wasn’t until they were covered with blood, sweat and the brains of their buddies, that they realized the awful truth about combat. It’ was then when a boy became a man and what he experienced would stay with him for the rest of his life. Every Memorial Day reveals more of these stories as the old Vet’s pass away.
Since 9/11, the military has had no problem filling its ranks with volunteers.These patriotic young people, with a few exceptions like Bowie Bergdahl, stay the course and remained loyal active members of their units. Many re-enlist to continue the fight and many comeback without limbs, emotionally traumatized or forever needing care. Some alas, never come back.
America celebrates these fighters twice a year, Memorial day and Veteran’s day when the sacrifices of our military men and women are recognized and honored. How many people do you see today stand to attention when the American flag passes in review? Veterans always do. It’s honor and sacrifice.
The problem with a return of the draft today is that most of our youths are not qualified. They have been subverted by an education system, its teaching ranks filled with the anti-war radicals from the 1960’s, like the Clintons. Our schools have failed to educate our young people about Americas traditional values and why we fight, or have lied about our history making it hateful. That’s a sad but true fact. The one great pool of true Americanism, the Boy Scouts, is being perverted into a potential pool for pedophiles.
Do we need a return to the military draft? I don’t think so! To recreate a program that expects its personal to perform, even to die on a battlefield, but turns many of them into deserters requiring efforts by the military to keep them, was never good for moral. Cowards in the ranks reveal themselves quickly and their whining can bring the moral of a whole unit down to their level of defeatism. Too, a new draft would now necessarily demand the inclusion of our daughters. Those that want to go, can do so now. Those that don’t, should stay home and tend the home fires. Today, on this Memorial Day, just be thankful Hillary Clinton’s not President. That’s worth cheering about.
Remember, freedom is the goal, the Constitution is the way. Now, go get ‘em! Hug a soldier today and have a happy Memorial day event. (26May18)
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America.
They are not just a solider; they are someone’s child,
They are not just a soldier; they are someone’s love,
They are not just a soldier; they are someone’s parent,
They are not just a solider; they are someone’s friend,
They are not just a soldier, they are our soldiers.
May we never turn them into a statistic and always remember all the hearts they touched, courage they personified and life they had lived. To the families of our fallen words can not express our sadness. We will not forget all you have given. We are so sorry for your loss.
On May 30th, Fannin County, like thousands of other communities across the United States, held memorial ceremonies for Americans who gave their lives in service to their county. The memorial, held at the Veterans’ Park began at 11 am and ended at noon.
Elaine Owen, editor of the Fannin Sentinel, gave the keynote speech at the Fannin County Memorial Day remembrance ceremony. Ms. Owen spoke about the meaning of Memorial Day. Memorial Day is to remember the 1.3 million soldiers who died while serving their country in all wars from 1776 to today’s actions in the Middle East. Memorial Day is not the “first day of summer” nor a day for beer and barbecue, but a day to honor soldiers’ service and remember what it means to be an American and be free. A goal of veterans should be to educate Americans that Memorial Day is not just another holiday or a celebration of military might; it is a day to honor those who died. She also spoke about one of her friends, “Rocky” Paxton who died in Vietnam. His plane was shot down. Mr. Paxton and another soldier were unhurt; the third person was severely hurt. After encountering heavy gunfire, Mr. Paxton decided to stay behind with his wounded friend rather than being immediately evacuated from the fight zone. Mr. Paxton died while waiting with his friend for another chopper to return and evacuate them.
Ms. Owen’s military career was in the Air Force. When she started in Officers Candidate School, she was one of 6 women is a class of 60 men. She said that at that time, the Air Force really didn’t know what to do with women who had joined its ranks, so the Air Force sent women through various schools. Ms. Owen decided to join the Air Force to help pay for her education. “I went in for the wrong reasons and came out with the right reasons. It was a profound experience,” says Ms. Owen.
Cindy Gorton received an award for volunteer service. Ms. Gorton is the Chapter Service Officer for disabled American veterans. One of the outreach services she organizes is a monthly ice cream social at Pruitt Nursing Home. Blue Ridge’s Dairy Queen provides the ice cream which she passes out at the nursing home. The VFW does the same for Lifecare nursing home. Ms. Gorton served in communications in the Army. She was stationed in Germany, Texas and Florida.
Every year Boy Scout Troop 32 out of Epworth assists Fannin’ veterans with Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day Ceremonies. On the Friday before Memorial day, troop members place flags on the graves of veterans buried in Crestlawn cemetery in McCaysville. On Memorial Day, the scouts assist with setting up equipment and chairs for the memorial ceremony. Troop 32 assists with veteran’s events so the Scouts learn to honor service members. Pictured here are Troop leaders David Lewis, Nick Wimberly, Bob Sisson along with Troop 32 members David, Daniel, Colby and Andrew with Joshua and Gavin, friends of Troop 32.
Sgt. First Class Marty Robles attended the memorial with his granddaughters. He served in the 12th Special Forces as a radio operator. Mr. Robles was also in nursing. A few of his tour of duty locations were Vietnam, Korea and Alaska. At his station in Alaska, he could see Russia, which was just 20 miles away, at the very edge of the horizon. He describes his position with the Special Forces as a quiet professional doing my mission.
Memorial Day brought many visitors to the 36th annual Spring Arts in the Park in the downtown Blue Ridge City Park in Blue Ridge, Georgia. The event was held on May 26 – 27, 2012 from 10 AM to 5 PM each day. (more…)
Blue Ridge held its 35th-annual Arts in the Park festival over the Memorial Day weekend. The weather was great and the event, which featured the work of over 170 artists, was a huge success. (more…)