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Vietnam serviceman is Veteran of the Year
5. Veterans Day pic1
Veterans Affairs of Dawson County President Don Brown presented the 2015 Veteran of the Year Award to Charles Spain of Dawsonville. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson County News

Sitting on the front row of Dawson County Middle School's auditorium, surrounded by family and friends, Charles Spain listened to stories of military men recalling their service during Dawsonville's annual Veterans Day ceremony last week.

Following presentations on World War I, World War II and the Korean conflict, the time had come to recognize Vietnam veterans.

A volunteer with the Veterans Affairs of Dawson County, which organizes the ceremony and parade, Spain had no idea his fellow committee members had voted to name him Veteran of the Year for his contributions to the organization and community.

"I'm so honored here today. This is such an honor to me," he said.

Spain was 21 when he joined the army. It wasn't long after that he was in Vietnam.

"I spent about a year in Vietnam, and I guess we all, everybody, was different when we came back," he said with a glimpse of a tear in his eye. "And everything was different here, but we were brothers together then, and I guess we'll always be brothers."

Now in its 11th year, the formal Veterans Day ceremony concluded with a parade through downtown Dawsonville.

For 11-year-old Kaylee Dooley, watching the parade and paying tribute to "the brave men and women that fight for our freedom" is among her most treasured days each year.

"Every day is Veterans Day for us," she said as she waved Old Glory and danced to the patriotic music playing along the parade route.

Designated as a 2015 Veterans Day Regional Site by the Veterans Day National Committee, Dawsonville is one of only two regional sites in Georgia to receive the recognition. The other is Atlanta.