Speaking to The Daily Tribune News after the ceremonies were over, two veterans, George Tapley and Burrell Bailey of Cartersville lauded the young people who took part, with Tapley saying, "They did a fabulous job."
Tapley served in Korea with the Ninth Cavalry during that conflict. Bailey, who is a member of the Post 42 color guard, also served in Korea as a pilot in the Air Force.
Bailey's grandson, John Bilton, is a chief warrant officer and a helicopter pilot, serving his third tour in Iraq. Bailey was visibly moved as he talked about the sacrifices men and women currently make in the military when they are in war zones.
And they were rewarded with dry weather, with State Sen.. Bill Heath, R-Bremen, delivering the keynote address. Heath talked about the diminishing number of people with a veteran in their families and added, "I'm told some have never knowingly met a soldier."
Heath quoted a copyrighted poem by Charles M. Province near the close of the speech:
IT IS THE SOLDIER
It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.
It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.
Heath listed eight qualities that are needed today: loyalty, duty, respect, personal courage, selfless service, honor, integrity and patriotism, and paid tribute to the American men and women who have given their life for their country, also saluting the veterans in the crowd at the Legion post Monday on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Cartersville.
"A Flash of Brass" provided the music Monday. This group consists of Phil and Lynn Dean of Adairsville on trumpets, Thomas Ryan of Rome on tuba, Katie Megli of Villa Rica on French horn, and Sam Simon of Rome on trombone. One of the most stirring periods came when they played the service hymns of all branches of military service.
The annual laying of the wreath was done by Hannah Grogan and Kaitlyn Hanks along with Barbara O'Neal, president of the post 42 Ladies auxiliary.
Post Chaplain Larry Russell gave he invocation and benediction, and Post Commander Bev McGruder gave the welcome.
The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Army First Sergeant James Hornback, an instructor with the Cass High School ROTC. Members of the ROTC posted the colors and also posted the flags of the five branches of service.
"A Flash of Brass" and the color guard from Post 42 played Taps, the final thing before the audience singing "God Bless America."