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13th annual Veterans Day celebration held at junior high school
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Veterans Affairs of Dawson County President Don Brown reads a poem he wrote titled "I met a man and shook his hand" at the 13th annual Veterans Day celebrations at Dawson County Junior High School Nov. 10. - photo by Allie Dean

The Veterans Affairs of Dawson County put on its 13th annual Veterans Day Celebration last week at the Dawson County Junior High School.

Following a luncheon at 1 p.m. Nov. 10, Veterans Affairs of Dawson County President Don Brown led a program in the school’s auditorium.

After reciting a poem that he wrote titled “I met a man and shook his hand,” Brown recognized the veterans in the room: those who fought in WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Afghanistan and Iraq.

An invocation by Vic Wallace, Chaplain with the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 970, preceded the recognition of the grand marshal for that day’s parade, Ben Overstreet.

Brown said that Overstreet was in the U.S. Marines during WWII, enlisting in 1945 and discharged in 1946.

Overstreet recently donated a 1952 M38 military jeep to the veterans affairs, in which he led the parade on Friday.

Also during the ceremony, Brown, who was recognized as Veteran of the Year for 2016, presented Allen Ferg with the honor this year.

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Veteran of the Year Allen Ferg poses with Veterans Affairs of Dawson County President Don Brown. - photo by Allie Dean

Brown said that the Veteran of the Year is selected based upon their military history, what they did in combat or based on what they did for the community.

“Our recipient moved to Dawsonville about 12 years ago,” Brown said as he introduced Ferg. “He was a marine in Vietnam and he’s also been an attorney. Right now here he’s known as an artist and sculptor, and I’m proud to say that he does a fantastic job.”

Ferg recently sculpted a statue that now stands in Veterans Memorial Park. He created the Battlefield Soldier Cross statue free of charge.

“I have seen soldiers kneel in front of that statute, either in prayer or in remembrance of someone they have lost,” Brown said. “And that’s the reason it's there. I encourage you to go see it.”

Continuing the ceremony, Boy Scout Troop 422 presented the colors, and the Junior ROTC cadets of Dawson County High School presented POW/MIA and Purple Heart Recipients, as well as the Missing Man table.

The Dawson County Junior High School Chorus sang the National Anthem and their choir director, Kevin Woody, sang “Proud to be an American.”

After the program concluded, visitors and veterans then filed outside for a parade, which shut down Hwy. 9 N from the school’s back entrance to the courthouse for half an hour.

Civilians lined up on the sidewalk, and children, families, military spouses and their loved ones waved flags and smiled as the procession went by.

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