Posted by: Kate on 11/12/2008 10:10 PM
Updated by: admin on 05/25/2012 01:46 PM
Expires: 01/01/2022 12:00 AM
A Veteran pays tribute to the Nation and to the Veterans Memorial

"11-11-11" Veterans Day Ceremony, 2008

On the 11th Month, the 11th Day and the 11th Hour - Veterans Remembered

Summary: Four (4) months after the Oconee Veterans Memorial was dedicated on July 4, Veterans, family and friends meet again at the site in the Veterans Memorial Park to remember those for which the Memorial was built. Special recognition was shown to the two men who gave time, effort and "heart" to see the plans become reality - the most beautiful Veterans Memorial in the Region.

Quote: “This is by far more attractive than any other Veterans Memorial in the Region, and it exudes deep spiritual and patriotic feelings. It makes me again proud to have served my country.” A WWII Veteran.

It was a most perfect day for a reminder of why November 11 was designated as a time to remember those men and women who have preserved our freedom to, among other things, hold such events as today.

Oconee Veterans and their families gathered at the new Memorial site to hold a short ceremony to remember those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. Between 90 and 100 people attended on a bright sunny day at 11 am to pay tribute.

The occasion began with an invocation by Rev Tony Vismor followed by Chairman Rev Davison’s welcome and beautiful comments to the Veterans. Then a salute to the music of the National Anthem was followed by the special recognition of the two Oconee Citizens who made the Memorial a reality in less than 3 months staying on a tight budget.

Rev Davison presented plaques, designed by John Gentry, to builder and coordinator Mike Maxey and Designer Ken Beall. Both plaques were designed in the form of a glass covered shadow box, with a picture of the finished Memorial in the middle, a small replica of the military medallions representing all branches above the photo, a folded flag at the top and a citation at the bottom. Both men were surprised and very appreciative.

The granddaughter, Kayla Joyner, of a Veteran, Ed Kennedy who is a member of the Veterans Memorial Committee, then read a poem that she composed when she was 13 years old entitled MY AMERICA (See words below).

Next followed the highlight of the occasion, the laying of the wreath by a Veteran and Oconee Commission Chairman Melvin Davis. After that family members placed their own wreaths in remembrance, taps were played and the ceremony was over. The crowd dispersed with many coming forward to the Memorial just to stand in reverence for a few moments.

It will be repeated next year at the same time and place to keep fresh in our memories why we must never forget.

Comments from the attendees:

“This was very moving” to

“My father would have been so proud of this” to

“This was certainly well organized” to

“Rev Davison’s words were so beautiful, moving and meaningful” to

“We could not have chosen a most concerned man as the Chairman and head of the Veterans Memorial Committee” to

“We have the most beautiful Memorial in the Region” to

“I’m glad that this will become a tradition” to

“When Oconee men say they are going to get something done, they just take the reins and do it” (referring to Mike and Ken) to

“I know you must be proud of your plaque, Mike. It is so unique, beautifully designed and it fits you.”

You know just how to touch the public, John. And I ditto all those comments above as my feeling too. I was choked up a bit and then you gave your “story” to the Middle School students – topped if off for me – and many others.

Thank you John, for being you and being a part of this whole effort. We have the “best” in this county.

John Gentry planned, coordinated and executed the ceremony.

********** ^^^^^^^ **********
by Kayla Joyner (granddaughter of Veteran Ed Kennedy)

Dear America,
I was there when you discovered this land,
I was there when you sewed me together.
I was there when you were fighting a Revolution.
I saw so many of you die in your Civil War.
I led you through WWI and WWII.
You thought of me as being FREEDOM.
You have written so many things about me.
You salute and pray to me every day.
I tried so hard to dry your eyes –
When your loved ones died so very far away
I saw their last moments –
Secrets that I dare not tell a soul.
For you dying being patriotic to protect me are sad moments for me.
I have been burned, ripped, worn and beaten down
But I do not wish to complain.
I have always been there through the bad and good along beside you.
And now I fear I will have to see yet another terrible and bloody war.
I will fight along beside you as I have always done.
I will stand alone and be your beacon through this dark time.
I will comfort the ones you will be leaving behind.
I shall wrap you to keep the cold, harsh reality of life from hurting you.
Look to me for comfort and strength.
For although you cannot see my ears, I am listening to your every word.
And though you cannot hear my voice, I am whispering all of your names,
And the names of those from the past.
You pulled me from the rubble of the twin towers,
You cried and scorned me for all that had happened.
I am sorry and though I have eyes that you cannot see,
I cry for all those who have and will die for me.
I AM THE AMERICAN DREAM and though I am old and worn,
I will always be by your side.
We began together and we will end together.

With my deepest love,

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