CUMMING, Ga. – The city of Cumming held its annual Veterans Day Ceremony on Monday, Nov. 11 as a way to honor veterans in every branch of the military.
The event was held at the Veterans War Memorial, 301 Veterans Memorial Blvd. in Cumming, and included a flag presentation, a 21-gun salute and speeches from Mayor H. Ford Gravitt and keynote speaker Command Sgt. Maj. Roy F. Marchert.
Gravitt expressed his gratitude to the veterans and thanked all of those in attendance.
“We should always remember what we owe to our veterans,” Gravitt said. “We want them to know that we support you, we stand behind you.”
Marchert enlisted in the Georgia Army National Guard in 1989 and now is the command sergeant major of the 560th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade.
Among his decorations are the Bronze Star Medal and Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf, as well as Air Force and Army achievement medals.
Marchert spoke about the camaraderie that exists among those who serve, adding that when he thinks of veterans, he always thinks of friendship.
“There is no substitute for relationships that are forged through hardship and sacrifice,” he said.
Student groups that took part in the ceremony included Forsyth Central’s Flash of Crimson Band, Christian Fine Arts of Forsyth Fire Choir, Forsyth Christian Home Educators and Boy Scout and Cub Scout Troop 245.
Performances ranged from the singing of “God Bless America” to “You’re a Grand Old Flag.”
The Forsyth County Sheriff’s and Fire Department, Forsyth Pipes, Daughters of the American Revolution, the American Legion Auxiliary and VFW Auxiliary were also present.
Following the ceremony, children who attended had the opportunity to meet and thank the veterans themselves by giving them handmade cards.
One of those veterans, 87-year-old Fred D’Orazio, is a World War II veteran that came to the ceremony with family.
“We always have a great time,” D’Orazio said. “It’s so nice to get together with all the people here.”
And for all the veterans, George C. Vernon, District 2 commander of the VFW, left them with a lasting message.
“History reminds us that freedom is a fragile thing and in need of constant protection – for those who have bravely served, many thanks for your service,” he said.