June 24, 2018

Town of Centralhatchee dedicates spectacular Veterans Memorial

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(Centralhatchee, GA) — A large crowd gathered on a cool and breezy Saturday morning to witness the dedication of the new Veterans Memorial at Centralhatchee Park in Heard County.

The one hour program on Veteran’s Day weekend featured several guest speakers, the Heard High School band, and the POW/MIA Honor Guard of the American Legion, Department of Georgia.

The program kicked off with a welcome from Centralhatchee Mayor Barbie Crockett, a thank you message from Malcolm Jackson, the posting of colors by the POW/MIA Honor Guard, and the singing of the National Anthem by HHS 2014 graduate Gracie Rowe.

The beautiful memorial is located in the middle of the city park and in addition to a monument features a sitting area, flags, and engraved benches honoring those who served in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marines.

The visitors and most especially the military guests from out of town were astonished by the impressive monument located in the heart of the small town of only about 400 people.

Following the National Anthem, local resident John Cash (Marines) led the assembly with the Pledge of Allegiance and Jesse Bell (Navy-WWII) delivered the Invocation.

Young Kallee Crockett read aloud the poem “Thank You Veterans,” a widely shared poem written some time ago by an Alabama elementary student.

Next up in the program was a very important  presentation from the POW/MIA team about the history of those that remain unaccounted for as well as some informative statistics about the work the group does today to try and bring these missing soldiers back home.

The Heard County band was an integral part of the program Saturday morning providing music in addition to a very special “Taps” trumpet solo performed by director Eric Vogel, also himself a member of the Army National Guard.

Jim Bishop, commander of the local American Legion Post 148, introduced the guest speaker, Dale Barnett, Past National Commander for the Legion. Barnett delivered a very heart-felt message and some entertaining stories about his life and the group’s goals in raising veteran awareness.

The national commander is the chief executive officer and official spokesman of The American Legion, with full power to enforce provisions of the organization’s constitution, bylaws and resolutions. Each national commander serves a one-year term, after which a new leader is elected at the national convention.

Five national vice commanders who serve different regions are also elected at the national convention each year.

Barnett, a native of Douglasville, was elected national commander of the 2.2 million member American Legion in Baltimore during the 97th National Convention of America’s largest veterans organization in 2015.

Prior to Steven Calhoun (Army) delivering the Benediction, Centralhtchee’s own veteran Mr. David Neighbors (Airborne Infantry) read a proclamation declaring the Town of Centralhatchee as an official “Purple Heart Town.”

The Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the President to those wounded or killed while serving, on or after April 5, 1917, with the U.S. military.

To close out the program many in attendance sang along with “God Bless America,” and refreshments were served in the park pavilion.

Mayor Crockett was very pleased with the program and thankful to the many that helped make it a reality. The monument paid for through the SPLOST program was approved by the town council in November of 2015.

“The group from the American Legion were just a tremendous help today — they are so passionate about what they do and just so willing to help,” said Mayor Crockett after the ceremony.

“The turnout was fantastic and I heard so many great comments about how much people enjoyed it and that’s what’s important. This memorial is not just for our city — it is for the entire Heard County community.”

The POW/MIA team includes Tommy Cannon, Jerry Price, Mike Brewster, Ron Mazzola, Christine White, Pat Nichols, Kathie Kennedy, Colin Cressman, Ed Kennedy, Nadine Asberry, Barbara Miller, and Hazel Nichols.

Town council members are Julia Hand, Eley Loftin, Barbara Norwood, Walt Wiggins, and Emmett “Pepper” Jackson.

The Town of Centralhatchee would like to send out special thanks to: The American Legion Department of Georgia, American Legion Post 5, American Legion Post 5, American Legion Post 148, American Legion Post 294, Congressman Westmoreland, the Daughters of the American Revolution, Hannah Electrical, Hearn Monument Stone Crafters, J & W Lawn Care, Matt Brass, Mike Crockett, city clerk Linda Rogers, the Military Order of the Purple Heart,  the POW/MIA Honor Guard Team, Roy Watts Plumbing and Trenching, and all others who made the process and program such a big success.

Comments

  1. Roberta Duncan says:

    Kudos to the city of Centralhatchee. The memorial service held at city park on Saturday was absolutely awesome. I am so proud to be a resident of Heard County, and the proud wife of an Army veteran. If you haven’t stopped by to see the Memorial, please do so, it is just beautiful. Thanks to Mayor Crockett and all of the city council for their efforts on behalf of Heard County veterans. Thank you all so very much.

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