Dozens of military veterans and their families participate in a recognition ceremony at the South Clayton Recreation Center in Lovejoy in September. More than half a dozen activities are scheduled between Saturday and Monday to observe Veterans Day. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)
JONESBORO — Clayton County residents will have several opportunities to commemorate Veterans Day this weekend with a plethora of activities planned around the county.
Veterans Day is Monday, which is also the 95th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I. Every year on that anniversary since 1919, several countries around the world — including the U.S. — have held observances to mark the end of that war.
However, Americans in 1954 began using that date as a chance to thank veterans from all wars for their military service. That’s when the day’s name was changed from Armistice Day to Veterans Day, according to the Veterans Administration website.
The Clayton County commemorations will begin a little early this year with a pair of meal-oriented events for veterans set to take place Saturday.
State Reps. Sandra Scott (D-Rex) and Darryl Jordan (D-Riverdale), and state Sen. Gail Davenport (D-Jonesboro) will co-host a veterans luncheon from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. at the Watkins Community Center, 511 Fayetteville Road in Jonesboro.
“Calling all veterans to come out and enjoy some hot fish,” said Scott in an email.
Boy Scout Troop 919 will also stage a veterans dinner and program at 4 p.m. at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5080, 5080 North Lake Drive in Lake City, said post Ladies Auxiliary President Cindy Arndt.
But those events will be a mere prelude to the bevy of programs scheduled for Monday.
Scott, Davenport and Jordan will partner again, this time with state Rep. Demetrius Douglas (D-Stockbridge) joining them, for a Veterans Day program Monday at 9 a.m. at Greater St. Peter AME Church, 9540 Fayetteville Road in Jonesboro.
The legislators are co-sponsoring the event with the church, Andrews Chapel United Methodist Church’s men’s group, the RainbowPUSH Coalition and the Concerned Black Citizens Coalition of Clayton County.
At the same time, Clayton State University’s Student Veterans Association and Veterans Resource Center will host their annual Veterans Day Ceremony at the college’s outdoor Lawson Amphitheater, next to Spivey Hall and Swan Lake. A moment of silence will be observed at 11 a.m.
“In addition to organizing the ceremony, our members will perform Roll Call by taking turns reading the names of Georgia’s fallen from [the] Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom campaigns,” said Veterans Resource Center Coordinator Tina Lake in a statement.
In the event of rain, James M. Baker University Center Room 272 will be held as a back-up location.
The City of Forest Park will then hold its annual Veteran’s Day Program at 11 a.m. at Forest Park City Hall, 745 Forest Pkwy. The special guest speaker will be retired Army Col. Harriet Staten.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5080 and its Ladies Auxiliary will also host their annual ceremony 11 a.m. at Camp Memorial Cemetery, 1095 Ga. 54 in Fayetteville. They are inviting veterans to come by the post afterward for “cool-out” time, said Arndt.
The Jonesboro Library Branch, 124 Smith St., will then host a reception and showcase for veterans from 6:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. Children will be able to make crafts to give to veterans during the event.
Sherry Turner, managing librarian for the branch, is asking veterans and their families to RSVP in advance so the library can plan refreshments accordingly. Turner can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 770-478-7120.