Local News

May 26, 2014

Whitfield County honors those who paid the ‘ultimate price’

More than 1.5 million Americans have given their lives in the nation’s wars since the start of the American Revolution.

“It’s obvious, by your presence here today, that you honor and appreciate that sacrifice,” said Bob Turner, past national president of the American Legion, to a crowd at the Whitfield County Courthouse lawn Monday.

Monday was Memorial Day, the day when Americans remember and honor the men and women who died serving in the United States military, and people came from across Whitfield County and beyond to pay tribute to those who gave their lives.

“Their sacrifices have come throughout our nation’s history,” said Turner, the keynote speaker for the event. “Most of those who were killed in action were under the age of 25. In the eyes of their families, they are always forever young.”

Turner noted that these men and women paid the “ultimate price” to defend the United States and its freedoms. But he said their families also paid a high price.

“Nobody can replace these fallen heroes, especially in the eyes of their families. All we can do is offer them (family members) a shoulder to cry on,” he said.

While Memorial Day honors those who have died while serving their country, the ceremony also paid tribute to those who survived their service but have since passed away. Members of the American Legion read the names, some 180 in all, of Whitfield County veterans who passed away in the previous 12 months.

Dewey Moss, commander of Dalton’s American Legion Post 112, noted the nation continues “to lose our World War II and Korean War veterans at an astounding pace.”

“There may be another 180 names or more when we read this list next year,” Moss said. “If you see a veteran, thank him or her for their service. You may not get another chance.”

Rocky Face resident Sheila Day said she was touched by the ceremony.

“My brother served in Vietnam, and thank God, he survived and is still with us,” she said. “But I can’t imagine what it would have been like to lose him. I hope that things like this help their families in some way.”

The Dalton-Whitfield Community Band provided music for the event, including marches by John Philip Sousa and “The Star-Spangled Banner,” while Dalton firefighter Gary Stanley led the crowd in “God Bless America.”

Several community groups laid wreaths on the veterans memorial on the courthouse lawn.

And afterwards, there was a picnic and community celebration on the Dalton Green with free food, exhibits of military equipment and activities for children.

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