Newton abounds with Memorial Day activities

Staff Photo: Erin Evans. Crosses honoring Newton County's fallen soldiers have been placed on the hill outside Newton Federal Bank by American Legion Post 2938.

Staff Photo: Erin Evans. Crosses honoring Newton County's fallen soldiers have been placed on the hill outside Newton Federal Bank by American Legion Post 2938.

COVINGTON -- There are plenty of opportunities to commemorate Memorial Day this year.

The Newton County Republican Party is putting politics aside and inviting the entire community to attend a Memorial Day event at 11 a.m. Saturday on the Square.

"It is just to honor all military and say thank you to all Newton County military. There will be special recognition for all World War II and Korean War veterans," said Chair Delia Fleming.

The keynote speaker for the event will be U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall. Local attorney and former Marine John Degonia will speak about the American flag, and there will also be singing.

"It's just a time to say thank you for what they're doing. It's not a political event, but it's for recognition of all of our military," Fleming said.

World War II or Korean veterans who wish to be recognized during the ceremony may call Fleming at 770-364-4429.

On Memorial Day, the local chapters of Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion will host separate events at 10 a.m.

VFW Post 2938 will be at Lawnwood Cemetery on Access Road. Prior to the ceremony, members will place flags on approximately 250 graves of veterans. The event will include the singing of the national anthem, Pledge of Allegiance and a short speech by Post Commander Michael French, who hopes this year the younger generation will participate.

"The middle-aged and older folks know what the veterans have done. Some younger people don't know exactly what's going on," he said.

French invited all veterans to attend VFW meetings at 10 a.m. on the second Saturday of each month at Journey Church, located at 1150 Monticello St.

American Legion Post 32 will honor local military at a ceremony on the Square, also at 10 a.m. Former State Sen. John Douglas is the keynote speaker. The event will also include the placing of a wreath at the war memorial on the Square.

American Legion post members have placed crosses bearing the names of Newton County soldiers killed in the line of duty at Newton Federal Bank at Emory Street and U.S. Highway 278 as a reminder to the community, said Post Commander Terry Moore.

Rockdale County's Memorial Day observances begin Thursday with the dedication of a memorial to U.S. Marine Pfc. Ted Britt at Rockdale County's Walk of Heroes. Britt died at age 19 during battle at the Khe Sanh Combat Base in Vietnam in 1968. He was posthumously awarded both the Silver Star and the Purple Heart.

The public is invited to attend the ceremony at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Walk of Heroes, located in Black Shoals Park, 3001 Black Shoals Road, Conyers. The event is sponsored by Atlanta Vietnam Veterans Business Association.

The program will begin with the U.S. Marine Corps Band from Albany, followed by Vietnam-era military aircraft flyovers, a Medal of Honor recipient as guest speaker, remembrances by former unit members and dedication of the memorial to Britt, according to Jon P. Bird, of the AVVBA memorial committee.

The program will also include a benediction, presentation and retirement of colors, presentation of the flag to family members, three-volley rifle salute and the playing of taps. A reception will follow the ceremony.

Britt's family, friends and comrades in arms will be in attendance. Britt grew up in DeKalb County and his family lives in Conyers.

Memorial Day is observed the last Monday in May in remembrance of those who have died during military service.

News Editor Jay Jones contributed to this story.