UNDATED - All across the north Georgia area, citizens spent the Veterans Day weekend saluting those who have served in the military.
A federal holiday traditionally observed on November 11, the holiday this year fell on a Sunday, so federal offices will be closed Monday, November 12.
For the second year, the Believers Concert Band, a community band based out of Gainesville First United Methodist Church, held a Veterans Day concert. Close to 800 people, many of them veterans, crowded the sanctuary at Gainesville FUMC for the 2012 concert. This year's concert was entitled "Proud Heritage of the USA" and featured guest conductor Commander Thomas E. Metcalf, U.S. Navy (retired).
While not a Veterans Day commemoration, area Marines tooks the time Saturday to celebrate the 237th birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps. The Marine Corps was born on November 10, 1775. Marines worldwide celebrate that birthday every year with a Birthday Ball and cake cutting ceremony where the oldest Marine serves the youngest to keep alive the connection from the Corps' beginning.
Marine Corps League Detachment #665 held its annual celebration at the Chattahoochee Country Club Saturday night. According to reports from those at the Ball, the oldest Marine present was Jerry Haney who served at Malta in the Mediterranean when President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill got together and planned the demise of Nazi Germany, and then in the Pacific during the last kamikaze attack and the final surrender of the Japanese during World War II. Harry Knight, who served the last months of World War II, then served in China in support of the Nationalist Chinese, and again met the Chinese at the Chosin Reservoir in Korea, also attended. Brett Barrett who signed up to be a typist, but instead carried a rifle into combat in Vietnam took part in the night's festivities. These plus many more Purple Heart recipients through the Desert Storm era up to the Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan era were there Saturday. The youngest Marine was Chris Edwards.
Also in quiet attendance were those Marines, killed or missing in action, who gave their all. The empty table with overturned glass sat in silent camaraderie.
This past Friday, students at Spout Springs Elementary School in Flowery Branch held their annual Heroes Walk for veterans. Principal Steve McDaniel said nearly 100 veterans joined students and faculty for breakfast and other activities.
Originally known as Armistice Day, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson issued the first proclamation for the observance of Veterans Day to be held November 11, 1919. The significance of observing the holiday on November 11 comes from the time and date of the end of major hostilities of World War I...the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.
Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day; Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the military.