COVINGTON -- Two ceremonies honoring veterans will take place in Newton County on Thursday, Veterans Day.
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2938 will hold a service at Lawnwood Cemetery on Access Road at 10 a.m. that will include a few short speeches by post members and the women's auxiliary, the singing of the "National Anthem" and a 21-gun salute.
"If it wasn't for the veterans during World War I or II, we'd either be speaking Japanese or German, one of the two," said VFW Post Commander Michael French, who encouraged everyone to come out to the ceremony, which he said will be over in plenty of time to make the American Legion Post 32 ceremony on the Square at 11 a.m.
That event will feature the Eastside High School marching band playing patriotic music and the Junior Marine ROTC from Newton High School presenting the colors, as well as a speech from Newton resident Maj. Bill Love.
"It's really just to show our appreciation for all the veterans from Newton County," said Post Commander Terry Moore.
Veterans Day originated as "Armistice Day" on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. In 1926, Congress passed a resolution for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday in 1938. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation in 1954 to change the name to Veterans Day as a way to honor those who served in all American wars.
Many Newton County schools will also have Veterans Day celebrations, including Cousins Middle School, which will host its third annual Veterans Day tribute that will consist of two events.
Beginning at 9 a.m., the program will commence with the playing of TAPS and continue with a silent tribute during which the names of the gallant men and women of the armed services, past and present, will be placed on the Wall of Honored Service. This wall will be on display in the front foyer of the school.
"During this time we will continue with a living tribute as the names will be read aloud in unbroken and continuous praise for the contributions and sacrifices that the brave men and women veterans have willingly performed for our great nation," a press release on the event stated.
In Rockdale County, the annual Veterans Day ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. at Georgia Veterans Memorial Park in Black Shoals Park. The event is being organized by the Rockdale County office of the Georgia Department of Veteran Services and Veterans Memorial Park Foundation. The guest speaker at the ceremony will be Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald T. Riling, the top enlisted man with Forces Command for the United States Army. He is based at Fort McPherson.
Riling became the 16th command sergeant major of the U.S. Army Forces Command on July 12. He serves as the commanding general's personal advisor on all matters relating to enlisted soldiers with emphasis on training, safety and quality of life.
Members of both the Conyers Rotary Club and the Rotary Club of Rockdale County will attend the ceremony. Stuart Smith of the Rockdale County club explained both clubs wanted to use the annual Veterans Day ceremony to recognize members who have served in the military.
Veterans Memorial Park is located off the main entrance of Black Shoals Park. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.
Also, American Legion Post 77 in Conyers will hold a Veterans Day ceremony at the post, located at 674 Legion Road, off Main Street. The program begins at 10:30 a.m. with lunch to follow. A meeting of the Post's Last Man Standing group is also scheduled that day.
For more information, go to www.americanlegionpost77.org, or call 770-483-8216.