Five flag poles stand at attention at Dawson County Veteran’s Memorial Park.
On Monday, flags from each of the country’s five military branches will fly for the first time at a Memorial Day service dedicated to the men and women of Dawson County who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.
The 3 p.m. service will feature keynote speaker Army Ret. Col. Bill Cain, executive director of military affairs in Atlanta, as well as a 21-gun salute and the playing of Taps in memory of those who lost their lives while serving the nation in military service.
Wayne Watkins, Georgia State President of the Vietnam Veterans of America, will serve as Master of Service, while Chaplain Victor Wallace will give benediction at the service.
Watkins encourages the community to pause for a few moments this weekend to remember that Memorial Day means more than a three day weekend and the beginning of summer.
“While everyone is out enjoying the holiday, I hope they understand there is a reason for the holiday,” he said.
Originally known as Decoration Day to memorialize soldiers killed in the Civil War, Memorial Day was first observed as a national holiday in 1971.
The Veterans Affairs of Dawson County holds a local service each year.
Pam Hamalainen, president of the organization, said Monday’s service will be especially touching as the group dedicates a new component to the county’s Veteran’s Memorial.
A memorial wall at the park has paid tribute for more than two decades to local veterans killed in service.
On Monday, the group will unveil a Walk of Honor and Serenity Garden, adorned with both memorial and dedication bricks, beneath the five flag poles to honor all men and women who served.
Saturday the group held a Poor Man’s Supper of beans, cornbread, fried potatoes, slaw, dessert and sweet tea at the Dawson County Senior Center to raise money for the local veterans projects.
For more information on the service or to purchase a brick, call Hamalainen at (706) 265-6278.