Rockmart remembers vets during annual ceremony
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.brownwrightpost12.org/home.html.
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