COVINGTON - William Brake believes every veteran is a hero, and all heroes deserve to be honored.
Concerned that people may no longer give much thought to the brave acts of the men and women who have fought and died in uniform, Brake has created an exhibit featuring wartime memorabilia from his family members who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
The exhibit is on display on the ground floor of the Newton County Historic Courthouse at 1124 Clark St. It features model airplanes made by Brake, such as the B-25, the bomber used in the famed 1942 Doolittle Raid, and the B-29, which dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Other items of interest include a flight suit worn by a relative who served in the Air Force, newspaper clippings from the era, a model Naval ship and more.
The exhibit honors Brake's late father-in-law, Norval Norton, and his wife's late uncle, John Wright, but it also serves a higher purpose: to provide a mini history lesson on the military and those that served and to
preserve a time in history that Brake believes is quickly being forgotten.
"I hope one day in Newton County we have a place where veterans and people who served are honored," he said. "If it weren't for these veterans, we wouldn't have what we have today, this freedom."
Though Brake is not a veteran himself, he is a member of the Sons of American Legion Post 233 in Loganville, is an American Legion Rider and serves on the Honor Guard.
He said he wants his 10-year-old daughter Amy to know about her military heritage and to develop a respect for modern day soldiers making those same sacrifices.
"I want to do good for God, family and country," Brake said. "People say it's not important, but to me it is. These are our heroes. It don't matter how small or how big, all veterans in Newton County are heroes."
The exhibit will be open during normal courthouse hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday until July 4.
There is no entry fee, but donations are accepted for the American Legion's scholarship fund.
Crystal Tatum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.