The Georgia National Cemetery will host a remembrance ceremony to honor the sacrifice of fallen soldiers, on Saturday at 10 a.m.
Kip McVay, one of the organizers for the service, said the Dobbins Air Force Base Honor Guard will present the colors, and the keynote speaker will be retired Marine Corps veteran Maj. Gen. Larry Taylor, who served in the Vietnam War.
“On this day, we celebrate Memorial Day, a day of remembrance of our deceased veterans,” McVay said. “It is not to be confused with Veteran’s Day, when we celebrate all veterans who have served our county, living or deceased. It is a somber time when we take into account those whom we have lost in service to our county.”
American flags will be placed at each gravestone, and wreaths will be laid in remembrance of deceased members of the various branches of the armed forces.
McVay said there is no large parking lot at the cemetery, located at 1080 Veterans Cemetery Road in Canton.
“Attendees are encouraged to carpool and arrive early due to parking constraints, and may bring folding chairs or blankets and weather related items, such as umbrellas, hats, hand fans and water,” McVay said.
McVay said visitors will be allowed to park on one side of Veterans Cemetery Road, which circles the Georgia National Cemetery.
“There will be people handling traffic, but it is absolutely vital to leave the other side open for emergency vehicles,” McVay said.
The city of Woodstock and the American Legion will also hold a Memorial Day service to honor deceased veterans.
Woodstock’s Memorial Day ceremony will include speakers, patriotic music, a dove release and a 21-gun salute.
The service will be held Monday at 10 a.m., at the Park at City Center located at 101 Arnold Mill Road in Woodstock.
Marybeth Stockdale, Woodstock Parks and Recreation special events coordinator, said the Woodstock High School Junior ROTC will present the colors and many important community members will attend the ceremony.
Some of the speakers will be state Sen. Brandon Beach (R- Alpharetta), Rep. Michael Caldwell (R-Woodstock), Mayor Donnie Henriques and Councilwoman Tessa Basford.
“We have the East Cobb New Horizons Concert Band, that’s a 45-piece band that will be playing during the ceremony” Stockdale said.
There will also be a wreath-laying ceremony, and various other speakers, Stockdale explained.
McVay explained the history of Memorial Day, based on a speech written by the late Robert Stubbs. McVay said the government was not the first to recognize fallen soldiers.
“It actually began in the South after the Civil War when, on a day in the spring, southern ladies would place flowers on the graves of fallen Confederate soldiers. It is said that these ladies, upon seeing the unattended graves of those lost from the Union, likewise put flowers on their graves,” McVay explained. “The practice was soon copied in the north where the day became known as Decoration Day.”
The U.S. federal holiday of Memorial Day is officially on the last Monday of May, which is May 26 this year.