World War II veteran Charles Shepherd Jr. will be this year’s featured speaker. Organizer David Young, whose late father was a World War II veteran, said it is very significant to have the keynote address delivered by someone who served in that war.
“We’re losing so many of those guys,” he said. “We won’t have [those veterans] much longer to repeat these stories.”
The ceremony also includes a presentation of the colors, a laying of the wreath ceremony and a 21-gun salute. After the program, the event becomes less formal as barbecue is served and participants can mingle and listen to music.
Young hopes more young people attend the event as many do not grasp the importance of Memorial Day, he said. Walt Woliver, another organizer of the event, said mainstream society has come to view the holiday as just a three-day weekend to go to the beach or barbecue.
“We kind of forget about [the meanings of] some of the holidays, this one in particular,” Woliver said.
Roswell’s Memorial Day celebration will take place on the grounds of city hall at 38 Hill Street. The program starts at 11 a.m., with pre-program activities beginning an hour beforehand.
The city of Milton will also host a Memorial Day celebration May 27 starting at 10 a.m. The program will take place at Milton City Hall at 13000 Deerfield Parkway, Suite 107.
Retired U.S. Army Col. Michael Steele, whose story was told in the 1999 book and 2001 film “Black Hawk Down,” will be this year’s featured speaker.
The winner of the city’s Memorial Day essay contest will read his or her work. Milton’s program also honors local deceased veterans.
“We read off [the names of] every single veteran that has passed from Milton,” said Angela Thompson, Milton’s special events and projects manager.
Celebrating Memorial Day will begin two days earlier in Johns Creek as the Johns Creek Veteran Association hosts its inaugural Memorial Day picnic May 25 at Newtown Park.
Association president Gerry Lewis said the event will serve to thank the community for support of the future Johns Creek Veterans Memorial Walk, which will be constructed at the park. The picnic will include a walk through where the pathway will be laid out.