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Memorial Day service set
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For many, Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer — a time when the pools open and the lake fills with boaters from across the region.


But for those who’ve served in the armed forces or have had loved ones who served, Memorial Day takes on its intended meaning.


“We must never forget the sacrifices our veterans made for us to enjoy the freedom that we take for granted. Many gave their lives for us,” said Pam Hamalainen, president of the Veterans Affairs of Dawson County. “It is important that we all remember these brave men and women.”


A Memorial Day service will be held at 3 p.m. Monday, May 25 at Dawson County Veterans Memorial Park, located on Hwy. 9 North, to pay tribute to those who lost their lives while serving the nation in military service.


“It is a day to pay our respects to the men and women that paid the ultimate sacrifice for us. All gave some, some gave all,” Hamalainen said.


Georgia State President of the Vietnam Veterans of America Wayne Watkins will serve as master of ceremony and will introduce guests in attendance, including local veterans Mike Berg and Victor L. Wallace II.


Berg, a Vietnam veteran and chairman of the Dawson County Board of Commissioners, will be the ceremony’s keynote speaker.


“We asked Mike to speak, not only because he is a Vietnam veteran, but because he is a public servant that continues to act on behalf of his community,” said Watkins. “He’s recognized throughout our county, and I think he’ll be a good draw to bring people to the ceremony.”


Wallace, who will lead the invocation and offer a closing prayer, currently serves as chaplain to the Dawson County Chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America. Originally from Oklahoma and a U.S. Marine who served in the Far East and Mediterranean Sea areas, Wallace has a son presently serving in Iraq. 


There is no cost to attend the ceremony. “The price has already been paid by our veterans,” Hamalainen said.


E-mail Michele Hester at