Photo: Representatives from VFW Post 9949, American Legion Posts 105 and 50 and the Thomason Marine Corps League Detachment salute as the wreath is presented and taps is played.
The first patriotic event to be held at the new Falcon Field Veterans Memorial was a fitting christening of a memorial that will surely be the site of many more.
Under a clear blue sky and mild temperature, the event kicked off with an unexpected but welcomed fly over of a Marine Corps Huey helicopter that happened to be leaving for another Veterans Day event near Griffin.
“The Marine Corps pilot approached me and asked if I minded having a bit of a fly over, since he was planning to take off about the time we started,” said Randy Gaddo, the event coordinator, himself a retired Marine. “I couldn’t pass that up.” So the pilot lifted off shortly after 10 a.m. and made two low passes over the crowd of 300 or so approving spectators.
The event, MC’d by Booth Middle School Principal Ted Lombard, a retired Army officer, was interspersed with marching music and included a stirring accapella version of the National Anthem by 14-year old Atlanta recording artist Lindee Link, who lives in Peachtree City. She also sang her rendition of Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.”
Guest Speaker Retired Army Colonel Ben Malcom captivated the crowd with his accounts of top secret, behind-the-lines duties in the Korean War. His riveting reiteration of the now-declassified guerilla operations are detailed in his book, “White Tigers – My Secret War in North Korea.”
A commemorative wreath was presented by the four local veterans groups who helped sponsor the event: VFW Post 9949, American Legion Posts 105 and 50 and the Clyde Thomason Detachment of the Marine Corps League. Members from these groups also help set up and break down the site, provided traffic control and obtained food and refreshments.
Donuts, coffee, juice and other refreshments were provided by local sponsors to include the Peachtree City Walmart and Target stores, the Publix stores in Tyrone and in Peachtree City, the Peachtree City Kroger store in Braelinn Shopping Center, the Peachtree City Cheers Beverage store, Line Creek Beverage and Starbucks both at the Avenue and PTC East.
Cadets from the Falcon Field Civil Air Patrol Composite Squadron-116 smartly presented the American flag to begin the event and retired the colors to close it. Scouts from Troop 75 led the Pledge of Allegiance.
“The turnout was good for being the first year we’ve had the event at the new memorial,” said Gaddo. “I believe we can build on this year’s success and make next year even better.”
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