Rock­mart re­mem­bers vets dur­ing an­nual cer­e­mony

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - By Sean Wil­liams SJ Cor­re­spon­dent

Rock­mart’s Vet­eran’s Day cer­e­mony went off with­out a hitch thanks to The Amer­i­can Le­gion, Brown-Wright Post 12, and the city’s lo­cals com­ing to­gether to honor those who served.

The heart­felt event was packed with tra­di­tional mil­i­tary mu­sic, in­vo­ca­tions, com­mem­o­ra­tive ri­fle fir­ings, and sto­ries about how mil­i­tary life af­fected those in­volved.

Vet­er­ans day is ded­i­cated to those who served, but the cer­e­mony in­cluded a spe­cial thanks to those who are cur­rently in the mil­i­tary as well.

Brown-Wright Post 12 is a Rock­mart char­ter of the Amer­i­can Le­gion. The Le­gion was in­cor­po­rated by Congress in 1919 as a pa­tri­otic dedication de­voted to mu­tual help­ful­ness.

The largest wartime vet­er­ans ser­vice in the na­tion, the pro­gram is com­mit­ted to men­tor­ing youth, spon­sor­ing whole­some com­mu­nity pro­grams, ad­vo­cat­ing pa­tri­o­tism, aid­ing strong na­tional se­cu­rity, and con­tin­ued de­vo­tion to those mem­bers and those who served.

11:11 a.m. marked the be­gin­ning of the cer­e­mony. Unit 12 Pres­i­dent She­lia Brink­ley took up the role of plac­ing a dec­o­ra­tive wreath on the “Killed in Ac­tion” mon­u­ment be­fore spec­ta­tors and vets alike took a mo­ment of si­lence in honor of the fallen.

The Post 12 Le­gion Rid­ers, each with a mil­i­tary flag on their bike, took part in the ad­vance­ment of the coun­try’s color via rid­ing around the venue.

“We come ev­ery year for the plac­ing of the wreath,” at­tendee Chloe Brink­ley said. ‘My mom is al­ways the one to put it on. Of course, we also come to honor the vet­er­ans.’

The pledge of al­le­giance was led by or­ga­nizer and Post 12 Com­man­der Gina Rho­den who was fol­lowed by a per­for­mance of the Na­tional An­them by Bill Sher­fe­see.

Rho­den later in­tro­duced the guests of hon- or, but no vet­er­ans were named dur­ing the event. In­stead, vets were given recog­ni­tion by the war they had served in.

Each branch of mil­i­tary was rep­re­sented by vet­er­ans who had served in sev­eral dif­fer­ent wars in­clud­ing the Viet­nam War, World War II, The Korean War, War in Iraq, and more.

“Ev­ery vet­eran here to­day ex­em­pli­fies the three words Duty — Honor — Coun­try,” speaker Zach Thomas. ‘There is noth­ing wrong with hon­or­ing all vet­er­ans on this day, but to­day is an op­por­tu­nity to pay spe­cial re­spect to those who are still with us.”

Thomas hon­ored vet­er­ans in­di­vid­u­ally be­fore once again thank­ing those present.

“Vet­er­ans, thank you for your ser­vice. It is your ser­vice and sac­ri­fice that has kept our coun­try safe and free, and ev­ery­one else, thank you for your sup­port to our vet­er­ans!” Thomas said be­fore shar­ing an anec­dote from his mil­i­tary life.

“I’ve al­ways strug­gled with the fact that I didn’t get to serve in com­bat. I was re­cently at event with Con­gress­man Tom Graves — GA14 Youth Lead­er­ship Sum­mit. At that event, I shared the sage with Johnny Joey Jones, a com­bat vet­eran that lost both of his legs form an IED in Afghanistan. While speak­ing to over 350 high school stu­dents, he said: ‘ Peo­ple say that I’m a hero be­cause of my in­juries, but that is not what makes me a hero, ev­ery vet­eran be­comes a hero the minute they raise their right hand.’”

The Color Guard lined up for the ri­fle fir­ing be­fore a per­for­mance of TAPS closed the event for an­other year.

The Amer­i­can Le­gion Brown- Wright Post 12 would like to thank ev­ery­one for at­tend­ing the cer­e­mony.

“We’d love to get more youth in­volved in the cer­e­monies,” Rho­den said. “The youngest vet is in his 40’s. We honor vet­er­ans of all ages, and they’re def­i­nitely out there, so they should come down and be a part of the cer­e­mony.”

Those look­ing for more in­for­ma­tion on Post 12 and the Amer­i­can Le­gion should visit http://www.brown­wright­

Sean Wil­liams / SJ Lo­cal res­i­dents bun­dled up against the cold ahead of the start of the an­nual Vet­er­ans Day cer­e­mony in Rock­mart.

The Amer­i­can Le­gion Post 12 Honor Guard pro­vide a 21-gun salute in mem­ory of vet­er­ans who have died in ser­vice to the na­tion. Sean Wil­liams / SJ

Rock­mart Amer­i­can Le­gion Rid­ers took part in a cer­e­mony hon­or­ing lo­cal vet­er­ans. Sean Wil­liams / SJ

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