County changes site of Veterans Day Service

By Valerie Baldowski


This year's Veteran's Day Service in Henry County is scheduled to be held at the Veteran's Wall of Honor in McDonough.

The ceremony will take place Nov. 11, at 11 a.m., on the plaza of the wall, located in Heritage Park, at 101 Lake Dow Road, said Jim Joyce, facilities coordinator for the Henry County Parks and Recreation Department.

The event will be hosted by American Legion Posts 55 and 516, both of McDonough, and sponsored by the Henry County Parks and Recreation Department, said Julie Hoover-Ernst, Henry County Communications director.

Joyce said the location for this year's Veterans Day service is a break from tradition. In years past, the annual ceremony was held on the McDonough Square, but parking and traffic noise became an issue, he said. Holding the event at the Veteran's Wall of Honor will provide a quieter location, and make parking easier, he added.

The affair will be a time for reflection, as well as honoring veterans for their service, said Joyce.

"There are so many veterans who reside and work here," he said. "It's important for all veterans not only to remember and reflect, but also to think about those that are serving now, and those that will serve in the future," said Joyce.

The keynote speaker will be United States Army Col. Thomas Carden. McDonough Mayor Billy Copeland, and Henry County Commission Chairman Elizabeth "B.J." Mathis, also are expected to speak, said Hoover-Ernst.

The Henry County High School Jr. Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) will present the colors. American Legion Post 55 Cmdr. Bill Hightower will provide the welcome. Jerry Goodson, chaplain of Post 55, and Raymond Reeves, senior vice commander of American Legion Post 516, will provide the invocation and benediction, respectively, Hoover-Ernst added.

Hightower emphasized the significance of holding the service at the Wall of Honor.

"We celebrated Memorial Day at the wall," he said. "We view Veteran's Day as a celebration to recognize, and thank, all who have served this nation through military service."

Local high schools will provide the music, while Jim Houston, of Bugles Across America, will perform Taps. As an added touch, ceremony hosts are working to organize all veteran attendees according to the conflict in which they served, to enter in as groups, said Hoover-Ernst.

She said a free continental breakfast, provided by the Parks and Recreation Department, will be served from 8:30 a.m., to 10:30 a.m., and a free lunch, provided by Post 516 and the Women's Auxiliary of Post 55, will be served immediately following the ceremony.

Both meals are open to the public and will be served in Conference Room B of the Heritage Park Office Complex.