Braving the wet weather, hundreds of Dawson County residents gathered downtown for the 5th annual Veterans Day Celebration.
The Nov. 11 observance began with a parade in the afternoon around the square.
The crowd then followed organizers into Dawson County Middle School’s gymnasium for a ceremony, which honored active duty personnel and those who have served in the military.
The ceremony included a moment of silence for the victims of the recent tragedy at Fort Hood, Texas, as well as a 21-gun salute by the Veterans Alliance.
Also, physician Larry Anderson was announced as 2009 Veteran of the Year.
Following the ceremony, Anderson said he was “humbled” by the experience.
“It was a total surprise ... I feel honored,” he said.
Originally from Gwinnett County, Anderson has lived in Dawson County for four years. He is the owner of Anderson Family Medicine on Dawson Commons Circle.
An Army veteran, Anderson served in Vietnam from 1966-68.
John and Tanya Self of Dawsonville said it’s veterans like Anderson that make the day worthwhile.
They attended the parade, and waved to their grandson, Kyle Davis, as he marched by with a local Cub Scout troop.
“This is what it’s all about,” John Self said. “Here in Dawsonville, we show respect for American values. It’s one of the things that sets this city apart, the respect.”
Standing just down the road from the Self family were Ashley Spicer and Sarah Andrews, both of Dawsonville.
“It’s a good way for the community to get together,” said Andrews, who has attended the parade for the past several years.
Parade-goers were treated to a flyover by a rescue helicopter, which zoomed over the crowd before the ceremony began.
The Dawsonville event is one of 41 in the country recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs as a Veterans Day Official Site.
The state’s only other site is in Atlanta.