Newnan's VFW Post 2667 Post Commander, Jeff Carroll announced the theme for the annual Memorial Day Ceremonies, to be held at Veterans' Memorial Plaza on May 28, at 11:00 AM. For the past twelve years, the ceremonies have remembered one selected service member who died in the service of our country, representing and honoring all who made the supreme sacrifice. This year, Carroll explained, the ceremony will be entitled, "Five Gold Stars," honoring five additional names recently placed on the plaza honor rolls. The Gold Star, often seen on window banners, is a symbol of the loss of a family member, killed in action.
During the preparations for last year's visit of the Vietnam Healing Wall, it was discovered that there were two Vietnam KIA's from Coweta County who were overlooked on the original honor roll. They are John Dozier and Daniel Post, both of whom have surviving family members in the area.
In the past two years, three Cowetans have died, serving in combat. They are Chad D. Coleman, of Moreland, who died in 2010 while assigned to Afghanistan. Adrian G. Mills, a graduate of Northgate High School, died in 2011, in Kirkuk, Iraq. Nicholas S. Whitlock, graduate of Newnan High School and Mercer University, died in Djibouti, Africa, while piloting a special operations aircraft.
Surviving family members of all five have been invited to attend and be a part of the program. Carroll issued a special invitation to any Gold Star families to attend. He also announced that commemorative bricks had been purchased by the VFW for the five men being honored. As a gesture of remembrance, two bricks are also being purchased. First, for Korean War casualty, Richard E. Clapp, a native of Seattle, whose remains were recently identified after 62 years. His sister resides in Senoia. Michael C. Braden, whose family recently moved to Newnan, and who recently died in Afghanistan. The commemorative bricks will be installed prior to Veterans' Day in November.
Commander Carroll noted that the Memorial Day weekend will include the annual "Buddy Poppy" drive, with VFW members stationed in local venues, seeking donations which are exclusively used to help veterans and veterans' families and scholastic patriotism programs.
On Saturday, the Coweta Veterans' Club will conduct the annual flag placement on veterans' graves in local cemeteries. This year, the Sons of the American Legion (SAL) will host the placements. The SAL was organized to provide a way for non-veteran sons and grandsons of veterans to participate in programs and services in support of the American Legion. The SAL extends an invitation to the community to participate in helping to remember the service of deceased veterans. Caring citizens are asked to assemble at the Veterans Club on Hwy 29N (Across from A&W Nursery), at 8:30 AM or meet at the cemetery entrances. The Veterans' Club will make available a limited number of flags for local church and private cemeteries.
In keeping with a wonderful tradition, the Coweta Veterans' Club will host a dinner for the public, immediately following the ceremonies on Monday. Food will be served from 12:30 till 2:30. A special invitation is extended to all public service and emergency personnel. For additional information, please contact the Club at 770-251-6949.