Cedartown honors veterans
Veterans honor their fallen comrades
The annual celebration of America’s veterans saw dozens out bundled up against a chilly November morning over the weekend in Cedartown’s Veterans Memorial Park.
Command Master Chief Wade D. Willingham provided a somber tribute to local veterans during the Saturday event, celebrated at the same time the end of World War I on the western front went into effect on Nov. 11, 1918 at 11:11 a.m.
He spoke about his memories of growing up in Cedartown’s Goodyear Village, surrounded by heroes who instilled in him the character that drove him into service. Heroes who he played baseball with as a young boy, who he went to high school with and experienced the joys of youth, and who eventually he marched off to war in southeast Asia..
Many of Willingham’s friends wouldn’t come back from the Vietnam War, and he choked up as he remembered their sacrifice.
Willingham entered the U.S. Navy in 1964 after graduating from high school, served aboard six different ships over a 31year career, and included a tour as the seamanship and battalion chief at the Navy Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I. He retired after serving in Norfolk, Virginia, as Command Master Chief in 1995.
He also encouraged folks to become active in supporting Veterans Affairs, and he said there are many ways to thank a veteran. The most heartfelt is to spend you time showing up and supporting local ceremonies like the one held Saturday morning, Willingham said.
Around 175 people took part in the weekend ceremony, one of many held in Polk County to show appreciation and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice by serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Decorations for this year’s service was provided by participants of the Tallapoosa Circuit Drug Court, who on Nov. 4 gathered to place flags around the monuments at the park honoring the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard members who have served in Cedartown and Polk County.
Veterans gathered on a chilly morning on Nov. 11 to remember those who have served and sacrificed in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Command Master Chief Wade D. Willingham speaks during the Cedartown Veterans Day ceremony on Nov. 11.