WWII fallen focus of program
by W. Winston Skinner
World War II soldiers who gave their lives for their country will be the focus of this year’s Memorial Day program in downtown Newnan.
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2667 is again sponsoring the Monday event, which will be held at 11 a.m. at Veterans Memorial Plaza. The plaza is in the city park at Temple Avenue and Jackson Street, and includes an amphitheater and statues depicting Coweta’s Medal of Honor recipients, Joe Jackson and Stephen Pless.
This year’s program will honor all 63 Cowetans killed in action in World War II. Dick Stender, program director, said the program will be titled “Before It’s Too Late.”
Members of Post 2667 felt that there are so few World War II veterans still living and that they and – particularly – their fallen comrades should be remembered and honored.
“Our citizens need to be reminded of the sacrifices in battlefields and the home front that our nation endured during the truly big war. Our debt to that generation of Americans is huge and we have so little time left to see them, shake their hand, render thanks and join with them in remembering their fallen comrades,” Stender said.
VFW Commander Jeff Carroll extended an invitation to all surviving World War II veterans and their families to Monday’s ceremonies. He also encouraged family members and friends of those Cowetans who died and whose names are enscribed on the World War II Honor Roll at the plaza to attend.
“Each name will be read and if there are family members present, we will recognize them as the name of their loved one is read,” he said.
“We lost a large number of our World War II veterans in the last year,” Carroll reflected. “Before it’s too late, we want those survivors to know the love and honor of our community.”
Stender and Carroll said they realize this year’s program may attract more older people than usual, and additional chairs will be available. If there is a need for assistance for citizens with special needs, VFW members will be available to provide help.
In the event of inclement weather, the program will be held in the chapel of McKoon Funeral Home. The funeral home is located next door to the park.
The VFW will join with other veterans service groups to place flags on the graves of veterans on Saturday. People from the community are asked to help with placing the flags.
“With about 3,000 flags in the three major cemeteries, we are a bit shorthanded,” Carroll said. People wishing to help are asked to meet at the Coweta Veterans Club, on U.S. Highway 29 North, at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.
Participants are asked to bring a screwdriver to punch holes in the soil for easier flag placement.
The annual Buddy Poppy drive will be held at several Coweta locations during the Memorial Day weekend. Funds collected for the little red flower are used exclusively for the relief and benefit of veterans and families in need.
Since Memorial Day 2013, Post 2667 has made donations in cash and service in the amount of more than $7,000 to distressed veterans and families.
The poppy became a symbol of fallen veterans after a poem was written about the vibrant red blossoms on a former battlefield in France. A Georgia woman, Moina Michael, championed the selling of poppies to help veterans in need.
The traditional free Memorial Day Luncheon, sponsored by Coweta Veterans Club, will follow the downtown ceremony. The lunch will be at the club. Assistance will be available to those need it for parking, entry, seating and serving.
For more information, call the CVC at 770-251-6949.