Red Lobster holds flag-raising ceremony

by Clay Neely


ABOVE Sgt. Major Charles L. Abbott helps raise a new American flag with Kerri Rodriguez at the Red Lobster on Wednesday morning. 

In honor of Veterans Day, the Newnan Red Lobster hosted its second annual flag raising ceremony outside the Red Lobster on Bullsboro Drive Wednesday morning.

Retired Sgt. Maj. Charles L. Abbott of Newnan was selected to raise the American Flag in honor of those who served in the United States armed forces.

Natasha Woods, along with guitarist Rob McDowell, performed the National Anthem for the onlookers.

“Today feels great,” said Abbott. “It was an honor to be involved in something like this. It struck me in the same manner as it did upon my return from Vietnam in 1968. I was awarded the Bronze Star while serving as an advisor to the reserves in Pensacola and my wife was a cub scout leader and we raised the flag in front of the Reserve Center with all the Cub Scouts watching.”

“I spent four years in France, six and a half years in Belgium, two years in Germany, two tours of duty in Vietnam and speak French fluently. I finally came back to the United States in 1981 when I went to the Sergeant Major Academy in Fort Bliss in El Paso Texas,” said Abbott.

General Manager Rhaucheeca Burton came up with the idea for honoring veterans last year but believed that holding it on a weekday this year would net a larger crowd.

“We are incredibly proud and grateful for the veterans in our community and wanted to take the opportunity to honor them,” said Burton.

Leonard Freeman, manager of the Red Lobster, also was pleased with the event.

“We plan on doing this again next year and keeping this tradition going. Perhaps this can turn into an event for all Red Lobster locations,” said Freeman.

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