For Dale Cockrill, American Legion’s Carl Boyd Post 42 commander, Memorial Day is a time to remember and honor military personnel who “paid the ultimate price.”
As in past years, the local Legionnaires encourage the public to attend their observance Monday adjacent to the Post’s flagpole on Roosevelt Street in Cartersville, behind Hobby Lobby. Starting at 11 a.m., the program will feature speaker Michael Schwartz, a retired U.S. Navy Senior Chief who bicycled across the country last year to financially assist fellow veterans. The observance also will pay tribute to Bartow County veterans who have died in the past year, recognize the five branches of service, and include the presentation of colors by Cass High School JROTC and Post 42’s Color Guard will perform rifle volleys and taps.
“We will have the reading of the names of the deceased veterans from last Memorial Day up until actually I closed it out [Thursday],” said Cockrill, who served in the U.S. Navy from July 1967 to October 1970. “There will be a reading of those then a ringing of the bell with each name and [there will] will be about 100. That’s [the part of the program] where it gets somber, [but] I would say that would probably be the most important part.
“... For me, [this observance is important because] it’s a reminder that there have been many, many, many who have paid the ultimate price. I’m a Vietnam veteran and I know several names on the wall. I knew them personally before their names ever appeared there. It’s just a reminder that somebody stepped up and they gave all they had to give.”
Also open to the public on Monday, the Vietnam Veterans of Bartow County’s candlelight service at 8 p.m. will take place in front of the veterans memorial — on the grounds of the Frank Moore Administration and Judicial Center, 135 W. Cherokee Ave. in Cartersville.
“People come and light their candle and go up and put it in front of the monument in memory of somebody serving, somebody that has served, somebody that’s been in the military,” said Sonny Earwood, quartermaster for the Vietnam Veterans of Bartow County. “It’s just sort of a remembrance candlelight. My cousin will be taking up one for his father who has passed away now but was in service. It’s just to remember those that have served our country.
“... [It is important that] people just don’t forget. It’s just the remembrance of it. [You] think about the people that have served and [those who] have lost their lives and the things they’ve had to go through.”
Following the candlelight ceremony, the public will be able to view a completed portion of the brick Walk of Honor.
Coordinated by the Vietnam Veterans of Bartow County, the brick offering runs parallel to the government building’s sidewalk and highlights all veterans, not limited to Bartow County residents.
For $50, individuals can take part in this memorial, purchasing a brick inscribed with three lines of information: the military personnel’s name; rank and branch; and years and location of service. In addition to Monday’s program, forms will be available at www.lzhome.org or at the Georgia Department of Veterans Service’s Cartersville site or the Vietnam Veterans of Bartow County’s office, both located at 320 W. Cherokee Ave. in Cartersville.
“I was hoping to see [more of the Walk of Honor complete] but with the economy [being] slow and all, [the project has] slowed down ... and for some reason a lot of people still don’t know about it,” said Earwood, adding the brick project is less than 50 percent complete. “We bump into people all the time that don’t know about it, but we try to get the word out.
“It’s to honor all those that have served in the military for the United States. They don’t have to be from Bartow County. ... I believe one fellow’s brick, he’s from Wyoming. I know there’s two on there from Texas. ... It doesn’t matter what branch of service they served in as long as they were soldiers for the United States. I’ve purchased five of them for my father, my two uncles, friend in Texas and mine.”
For more information about the evening observance or the Walk of Honor, individuals can call Earwood at 770-547-8311. Further details about the American Legion program can be obtained by calling 770-382-9150.