An Evening of Fellowship: National Guard holds Reunion
By W. WINSTON SKINNER
Former Coweta area National Guardsmen and their families shared barbecue and memories at a reunion Thursday.
The reunion was held at the Jackson-Pless National Guard Armory on Armory Road in Newnan. The Newnan armory is a site familiar to all the guard members who spent many weekends training and serving duty there over the past 63 years.
Though the event was billed as an Old Timers National Guard Reunion, the event actually was open to anyone who has served in the National Guard since the local unit was organized on May 9, 1949.
The overwhelming majority of those attending were in the National Guard prior to 1975. Many wives – and several children and other family members – attended, as well.
“I thank you, gentlemen, again for the great job that you did,” Hendrix said in brief remarks after the barbecue pork dinner.
He also recalled how happy the men were when the ladies in their lives would be at the armory decades ago. “You all looked beautiful and gorgeous, and you all still look beautiful and gorgeous,” Hendrix said.
Gathered around tables, former National Guard members told stories from their Guard days and recalled fellow members who are now deceased. There were stories about training, getting new equipment and funny things that happened. Children sometimes remember the annual Christmas party at the armory, complete with a visit from Santa Claus.
Several people brought photographs, and David Payton brought a stack of albums and photographs chronicling the unit’s history.
One of Payton’s scrapbooks was filled with photographs and news clippings from the day the armory was named to honor Vietnam War heroes Joe M. Jackson and Stephen Pless. George Busbee, then governor of Georgia, attended those ceremonies.
Hendrix said about 75 people attended the reunion.