If you go
Veterans Day ceremonies will be held at 2:45 p.m. Nov. 11 in the gym at the Dawson County Middle School, followed by a parade through downtown Dawsonville that begins at 4 p.m.
Veterans and active military personnel from all wars and all branches will be honored.
Christmas Eve will mark the beginning of Col. James "Lindy" Linder's 30th year in the United States Air Force.
"It has shaped who I am as a person. I have greatly appreciated my opportunities as I have served. From being an instructor and then evaluator, from a commander to a director, all the positions have been fascinating challenges," he said. "I have worked for all types of leaders and have learned from them all. My assignments have been all over the world, have pushed me outside of my comfort zone, and taught me an incredible amount."
Linder, 54, said a trip to visit his older brother at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, where he saw a Blue Angels aerial demonstration at an airshow, greatly influenced his decision to join the military.
"The reasons were my strong desires to serve the nation and be a pilot, also watching Ronald Reagan embrace the flag. He defined patriotism to me," Linder said.
Nearly three decades later, Linder is the Director of Intelligence, Air, Space and Information Operations for the 22nd Air Force, Dobbins Joint Air Reserve Base in Marietta.
As director, it is his responsibility to be an enabler for Wing Commanders and Operations Group Commanders for the 13 wings that make up the Numbered Air Force.
Linder said he can't imagine another profession that would expose one to so many different opportunities and challenges.
"You may not be rich financially being in the military but you are a very wealthy person when it comes to family, friends and experiences," he said. "I feel I am doing my part, my fair share. Anyone who has served, regardless of length of time, understands that thought. They understand that they are the defense, the wall, the backbone, the deterrent. They are the reason we have the freedoms we do."
A highly decorated officer who lives in Woodstock with his wife, the former Nikki Lynn Morgan, Linder will serve as the key note speaker during Dawsonville's Veterans Day Service on Nov. 11.
"We specifically honor those who have served on Veterans Day and that's as it should be. But we should also thank those who enable our veteran's to serve ... wives and husbands, mothers and fathers, girlfriends and boyfriends," he said. "Without the families' support back home, service would be so difficult. So thank you to all the families of all our veterans and thank you to all my brothers and sisters who have served.
"Finally, let's also remember those who cannot be here with us this Veterans Day."