CLERMONT – Fifty years, three months and two weeks ago Marine Lance Corporal Zachary Taylor Addington gave his life in service to his country on a hill southwest of Khe Sanh in Viet Nam.
Thursday morning in his home town of Clermont the U.S. Post Office was renamed in his honor.
Ninth U.S. District Congressman Doug Collins told a standing-room-only crowd in the fellowship hall at Concord Baptist Church in Clermont that although he did not know Addington, people like Addington leave “chalk marks” on those around them, signs that they have touched the people they met.
A dozen classmates from Addington’s North Hall High School Class of 1967 listened closely from the audience as Collins (a mid-1980s graduate of NHHS) said, “Zach Addington would not have known that in fifty years we’d be sitting in this place talking about him who never came home, but he’d left enough ‘chalk marks’ so that was assured.”
Marine Corp Lt. Col. Kevin Jarrard, former Commandant at Riverside Military Academy and a member of the NHHS Class of 1990, spoke of Addington’s service to his country with emotion. “I’m the father of a Marine Lance Corporal and so it’s hard for me to talk about someone like that without being emotional…but where do we get such men? My answer is they come from places like Clermont, Georgia.”
He urged everyone to never forget those who are willing to sacrifice themselves for the freedom of others. “As you’re taking your children and your grandchildren and your great-grandchildren to the Clermont Post Office to pick up the mail take time to look at that plaque and tell the story of Zach Addington, a young man who gave his all that we might walk in peace here in Clermont, Georgia.”
Last fall Collins introduced a bill in Congress to rename the Clermont Post Office in honor of Addington. In March of this year that legislation was passed and was signed soon thereafter by President Donald Trump.
Addington’s two sisters and older brother attended the ceremony. Clermont Mayor James Nix said for a brief period he lived next door to the Addington family and recalls that everyone who knew Zach called him by his nickname, Poochie.