Counties to hold Veterans Day events

COVINGTON - Several events commemorating Veterans Day will take place Tuesday in Newton and Rockdale counties.

In Newton County, members of American Legion Post 32 invite the community to an 11 a.m. service in front of the Veterans Memorial on the downtown Square.

The guest speaker will be former City Councilman Roger Tingler, a Vietnam-era veteran who also served as vice chairman of the American Legion at the national level.

In addition, there will be prayer, the posting of the colors and the laying of a wreath to honor dead veterans.

VFW Post 2938 will hold its own ceremony at 10:45 a.m. at Lawnwood Memorial Park and Memory Chapel Mausoleum/

Cemetery on the Access Road.

Commander Michael French will be the keynote speaker at the event, which will also include the singing of the National Anthem and a 21-gun salute.

"It's to honor the dead. Of all the wars America has fought in, that's the true heroes, the ones that didn't make it back," French said.

Meanwhile, in Rockdale County, the supporters of the Georgia Veterans Memorial Park at Flat Shoals Park will host a special service there at 11 a.m.

State Sen. John Douglas, chairman of the Senate Defense and Veterans Affairs Committee, will be on hand to introduce the keynote speaker, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who has been instrumental in the construction of Rockdale County's Georgia Veterans Memorial Park, according to Tommy Clack, field manager with the Georgia Department of Veterans Services and volunteer member of the Veterans Memorial Park Foundation board.

Larry Clark, the head of the Stone Mountain Baptist Association, will lead the invocation, and later in the program, attendees can expect a special flyover performed by the 171st Aviation Company of the Georgia Air National Guard.

Also scheduled for the ceremony will be the presentation of three American flags flown in combat in Iraq to three area corporate entities who have helped in the construction of the park.

The American Legion Post 77 will present the colors and perform "Taps" at the end of the program.

"Veterans Day is that one day of the year - when it should be 365 days a year - that we set aside to say 'thank you' to these men and women who have sacrificed and served to give us our freedoms," Clack said.

Veterans Day was first celebrated in 1919 to commemorate the end of World War I.

Though the war didn't officially end until June 1919 with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, fighting ended Nov. 11, 1919, at 11 a.m. when an armistice went into effect.

Congress made the day a legal holiday in 1938; it was then known as Armistice Day and honored veterans of World War I, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

In 1954, at the urging of veterans organizations, Congress amended the act and struck the word Armistice, making it a day of honor for all veterans.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.