Published Wednesday, October 10, 2012
By ALEX MCRAE
Officials of the Coweta Commission on Veterans Affairs are hoping for another great show of community support as Veterans Muster 2012 opens Thursday.
Events for this year’s Muster include a special performance of “Letters Home” Thursday at the Centre for Performing and Visual Arts in Newnan, and a full slate of events and ceremonies on Saturday at the Coweta County Fairgrounds.
“The support of the community has been wonderful for our first two events,” said Joe Brooks, Maj. Gen. U.S. Army (retired), a founding member of the CVA.
“We are so glad we can bring the story of our military to the people of the county and remind everyone of the efforts that one percent of the population make to protect and defend us all. Coweta County and the city of Newnan could not have been more supportive, and with so many people working together, these events have been tremendous.”
The Theme for Muster 2012 is “Honoring and Remembering Veterans and their Families who served Post Vietnam War (War on Terrorism).”
The muster honors all veterans, but this year focuses on those who served in Desert Storm/Desert Shield, Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq and many other significant post-Vietnam conflicts, including operations in Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Bosnia, Haiti and Somalia.
“This is the third of what we now consider an annual event,” said veteran Malcolm Jackson of the CVA. “We are glad that we have this opportunity to recognize the veterans who have served since 1975, and their families.”
Jackson pointed out that since 2013 has been designated by the U.S. Congress as the 60th anniversary of the Korean War, next year’s fall Muster events will focus on Korean War veterans.
The following schedule of events was supplied by the Commission on Veterans Affairs:
• Oct. 11, 7 p.m. — The stage production “Letters Home,” hosted by the Patrons of the Centre at The Centre for Performing and Visual Arts of Coweta County, 1523 Lower Fayetteville Road, Newnan.
“Letters Home” will be presented by the touring company of the Griffin Theatre Company, Chicago. The production puts the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq front and center by bringing to life actual letters written by soldiers serving in the Middle East.
For more information, go to: http://griffintheatre.com/letters-home/ and follow the link to: Griffin Theatre - Letters Home.
Admission is $10 general admission, and $8 for senior adults.
• Oct. 13, 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. — Muster III activities at the Coweta County Fairgrounds.
The opening ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. on the midway field and includes a parachute demonstration featuring combat veterans with the ceremonial flag and a flag presentation by the Northgate HighSchool Air Force JROTC .
The opening ceremony that follows will be conducted by the American Legion and will include students of the JROTC.
Starting at 10:30 a.m. there will be displays on the fairgrounds plaza and midway areas as part of the Student-Vet Connect program organized and presented by the Newnan High School History Department.
The event will include displays of military memorabilia presented by area veterans who served from World War II until the present.
Saturday events will also include paid rides on two different helicopters. Rides on the UH-1 Huey will be $50 per individual and $45 for veterans. Rides on an AH-1 Cobra helicopter will be available for $450 per individual or $425 for veterans.
The helicopter rides will be available at the fairgrounds beginning at 11 a.m. and will continue as long as there is demand. No rides will be offered during the times of ceremonies.
The helicopters are being made available by the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation ( http://www.armyav.org/ ).
Drill Team demonstrations will be presented by students of the Newnan High Air Force JROTC and East Coweta Marine Corps JROTC at 10:30 a.m. and noon.
Representatives of military service organizations will be on hand and military-related books by local authors will be for sale. Static displays will include UH-60 Blackhawk and Cobra helicopters. Military vehicles from all time periods will also be on display.
From 2-2:30 p.m. Saturday, there will be a Service of Remembrance honoring the families of six local men who have died on active duty service since 1975. Those to be honored include Chad Coleman, Michael Stokely, Jeffery Blanton, Joseph Meadows, Adrian Mills and Nicholas Whitlock.
After the special recognition to fallen servicemen, the ceremony will close with the playing of “Taps” as the colors are retired.
The Newnan VFW Post will be in charge of closing ceremonies.
This is the third Veterans Muster organized by the Coweta Commission on Veterans Affairs, the group formed in the spring of 2010 by Jackson and Brooks.
“Our mission has come to be summed up in two words — public awareness,” Jackson said. “We want to keep everyone aware of the sacrifices of all our veterans, including their families, who stayed home to take care of business.”
Jackson and Brooks have spoken to local organizations and service clubs to promote the 2012 event and hope Muster III will continue to build on the event’s past successes.
CVA members stress that the non-profit is seeking grants to help defray part of the costs of staging the 2012 event, but say that donations are always welcome.
Those wishing to make tax-deductible donations should mail checks payable to the Coweta Commission on Veterans Affairs to: 23 Stone Moss Drive, Newnan, Ga. 30265.
Those interested in more information are also urged to check the organization’s website: cowetacova.org .