NORTH ATLANTA, Ga. — Memorial Day is fast approaching, and North Atlanta cities are expecting thousands to turn out this year.
Here’s a brief rundown of some of the local ceremonies on tap:
The City of Roswell, in partnership with the Roswell Rotary Club, is widely known for hosting the largest Memorial Day Ceremony in Georgia, regularly attracting 6,000-7,000 people. This year marks the 22nd anniversary of the annual Roswell Remembers Memorial Day Ceremony which will feature its second ever female guest speaker — Air Force Col. Patricia Blassie.
She’s best known helping identify her brother, 1st Lt. Michael Blassie, as one of the service members from the Vietnam War buried at the Tomb of the Unknowns, said David Young, co-chair of the Roswell Remembers Memorial Day Ceremony.
The program includes a presentation of colors, laying of the wreath, 21-gun salute and “Taps.”
Attendees are asked not to bring pets.
After the ceremony, attendees can enjoy a picnic on the grounds with live music by the Chuck Nation Band.
The ceremony will be held rain or shine starting at 10 a.m. on Monday on City Hall Grounds, 38 Hill St.
For more information and the full program, visit roswellmemorialday.com.
Meanwhile, in Alpharetta, the city and the Rotary Club of Alpharetta will host the fifth annual Memorial Day Tribute on Monday, beginning with music at 9 a.m. at City Hall, 2 Park Plaza.
The program will include an invocation, posting of colors, Pledge of Allegiance, National Anthem, laying of the wreath, rifle salute and “Taps.”
Keynote speaker for the event is Brig. Gen. Thomas H. Blackstock Jr., who, over his 30-year military career, has completed assignments in Saudi Arabia, Central America and Afghanistan. He has been awarded more than 30 decorations and badges, including a Defense Superior Service Medal, a Bronze Star and Meritorious Service Medal.
Alpharetta City Councilman and Rotarian John Hipes said the idea behind the Memorial Day Tribute began in 2009 when he attended the Roswell Memorial Day Ceremony.
“I was very impressed by Roswell’s ceremony and thought Alpharetta should hold its own ceremony given the importance of Memorial Day,” Hipes said.
That idea didn’t come to fruition until some five years later when Hipes moved to downtown Alpharetta and noted how the new Brooke Street Park behind City Hall would offer the perfect venue for such an event.
Milton will host a Memorial Day ceremony on May 27 from 10 a.m. to noon at Freedom Park, 13200 Deerfield Parkway. The event will feature a guest speaker, a presentation by the Milton Public Safety Color Guard, local musicians and a roll call of Milton’s fallen veterans.
The Milton Veterans Memorial Markers will also post memorial crosses on display throughout the city.
The City of Cumming will hold its annual Memorial Day ceremonies on Friday, May 24 starting at 11 a.m. The ceremony will be located at 301 Veterans Memorial Blvd. All families are welcome to come out and remember the veterans who gave their lives for their nation.
Brig. Gen. Reginald Neal of the Georgia Army National Guard will deliver the keynote address.
The national flags flown for the event will have been donated by family members of deceased veterans who served in the U.S. Military. The Avenue of Flags Dedication will be conducted by Master of Ceremonies Don Weldon.
The ceremonies will close with a rifle salute, “Taps” and a white dove release.
— Julia Grochowski, Pat Fox,
Joe Parker, Carson Cook and Adam Darby all contributed