City of Cumming Presents Annual Memorial Day Ceremony
Event will celebrate 20th anniversary of Avenue of Flags
Twenty years of honoring local veterans will be recalled during this year’s City of Cumming Memorial Day Ceremony. The public is invited to take part in the event, which will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, May 22, at the city’s Veterans War Memorial, 301 Veterans Memorial Blvd.
The theme of this year’s event is “Twenty Years of Remembrance: The Avenue of Flags, 1995-2015.” Each year during the ceremony, several new American flags are added to the Avenue of Flags, each in memory of one or more local veterans who served their country in war time or peace. Currently, the Avenue of Flags features some 211 flags and another 10 will be added this year. Additionally, the names of three veterans will be added to two flags which are already a part of the Avenue.
The flags have all been donated by family members of the late veterans, all of whom earned the honor of a military funeral at the time of their passing in acknowledgement of their service to the United States of America.
“The Memorial Day Ceremony is always very moving,” said Alison Smith, lead organizer of the event. “This year’s event should be especially meaningful since we are marking this milestone anniversary of our Avenue of Flags.
“We hope everyone will come out and join us for this special day of remembrance.”
In addition to the Avenue of Flags dedication, this year’s ceremony will also feature comments from Master of Ceremonies John Arant, former American Legion North Georgia 9th District and Cumming Post 307 Commander; and from Speaker LTC Theodore R. Scott III, Deputy Commander of the 560th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade of the Georgia Army National Guard.
Scott has served in the Georgia Army National Guard since 1986. He is the senior Military Intelligence Officer in the state of Georgia, and has held a number of key staff and command positions in previous assignments. Among his decorations are the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and the NATO Service Medal.
Mayor H. Ford Gravitt will also provide a welcome during the event, and an invocation will be given by CH (CPT) Jon Pirtle of the 560th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade. Pirtle’s most recent deployment was to Afghanistan from February 2013 to January 2014. At home in Fitzgerald, Ga., Pirkle also serves as the minister to students and discipleship at his local church.
Other participants in this year’s Memorial Day Ceremony will include: the Forsyth County Fire Department Honor Guard; Forsyth County Sheriff’s Department; Georgia Safety Pipe and Drums; North Georgia Barbershop Singers; musician Miles Bonaker; and Nancy Kay Duncan of Georgia Doves.
The City of Cumming Memorial Day Ceremony is free and open to the public. The event typically draws about 500 people.
Event at a Glance
What: City of Cumming Memorial Day Ceremony – “Twenty Years of Remembrance”
When: 11 a.m. Friday, May 22
Where: Veterans War Memorial, 301 Veterans Memorial Blvd. (next door to the Cumming Police Department)
Cost: Free and everyone is welcome
2015 Avenue of Flags Dedications
- William M. Boulware, Navy
- Robert J. Burkhead, Marine Corps
- Elwood Smith Duckworth, Navy, and Jonathan Linwood Grubb, Army (one flag flies for two veterans)
- Thedford “Ted” D. Echols, Air Force
- Morton Lee Gillespie, Army Air Forces
- Cleon Egbert Heard, Army
- John Griffin Jones, Army
- Paul W. Martin, Army
- J.W. Walls, Army
- Robert Youngblood, Navy
- Louis C. Clark Jr., Army, and Sylvan L. Berlin, Air Force (both added to the flag of Jerry L. Godwin and Andrew V. Cline)
- Walter Morgan, Navy (added to the flag of Dorothy Ruth Morgan)