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Column: Airborne veterans group to host awards festival
by Sally F. White
April 02, 2014 01:23 PM | 4097 views | 0 0 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sally F. White
Sally F. White
The Donald D. Lassen Atlanta All Airborne chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association is sending a clarion call to all U.S. military personnel, veterans and families and any interested individuals to participate in the 37th annual Airborne Awards Festival today through Saturday at the Atlanta Airport Marriott hotel on Best Road in College Park.

This year’s festival will celebrate the 70th anniversary of D-Day with an expanded program. It will include registration, the Memorial Luncheon recognizing those lost in combat during the past 70 years, bus trips to visit Fort Benning and Camp Merrill/Camp Toccoa, update briefings on the 101st and 82nd Airborne divisions, the Ladies Brunch and an all-encompassing finale Awards Banquet. Retired Lt. Gen. John LeMoyne is the banquet’s guest of honor and will speak there.

The four-day multi-facetted program gives military personnel an opportunity to share camaraderie and show pride in their service. Attendees are urged to wear any old uniform they fit into and join in the pride of Airborne comrades.

“Expanded from our survey input from last year’s festival, we are excited to announce new additions to our activities. We will have two day trips to the Mountain Ranger Camp in Dahlonega and the training site of the Band of Brothers [Camp Merrill and Camp Toccoa, respectively]. Further, we will be entertained by the renowned Sentimental Journey Orchestra at the Awards Banquet,” said retired Col. Troy E. “Gil” Gilleland Jr., chairman of the Donald D. Lassen chapter.

There is an overall festival registration fee of $40 per person plus special tickets to added activities such as the luncheon, brunch, bus trips and the banquet.

The All Airborne chapter was formed by Donald D. Lassen, a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne who jumped in the D-Day invasion June 6, 1944. When he returned home after World War II, Lassen formed the Atlanta chapter as a way for Airborne troopers to keep in contact and share their experiences. The Atlanta chapter hosts the annual festival and operates as a nonprofit under the association.

Tickets and information: (770) 289-0229 or

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Civil War author and speaker Edward H. “Ed” Bonekemper III will be the featured guest at the Civil War Round Table of Atlanta’s meeting Tuesday at the Capital City Club downtown.

Bonekemper, book editor of the monthly newspaper Civil War News, will compare Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee in their famous 1864 Overland Campaign, matching the war’s two top generals in the bloodiest campaign of the war.

Founded in 1949, the round table is the second oldest organization of its kind in the nation. The nonprofit is devoted to serious study and discussion of the Civil War. Monthly dinner meetings feature notable speakers, authors and other meaningful elements of the historic conflict. Art Carey serves as the 2014 president.

Tickets and information: (770) 473-1390 or

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As the nation observes the Civil War sesquicentennial and the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the Atlanta History Center in Buckhead is hosting a nationally acclaimed exhibition, “The Kinsey Collection: Shared Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, Where Art and History Intersect,” Saturday through July 13 with special interactive programs on opening day.

The on-loan exhibit will be mounted in the main museum on West Paces Ferry Road and includes artifacts and works of art demonstrating the artistic, historic and cultural contributions and progress of African-Americans from 1600 to the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Jim Crow years and the Civil Rights Movement. Before coming to Atlanta, it was featured at the Smithsonian in Washington and leading African-American museums across the U.S.

The exhibition’s opening day will feature gallery performances written by center playwright Addae Moon and a musical program by students of the Atlanta Music Project. An Afternoon of Art and Legacy, a talk with avid collectors and philanthropists Bernard, Shirley and Khalil Kinsey moderated by Lisa Frison, Africa-American segment manager for Wells Fargo, will be followed by a book signing with the Kinsey family.

During the run of the exhibit there will be special activities for children to explore the themes of the Emancipation Proclamation, the Harlem Renaissance and the Civil Rights Movement.

The exhibition is free to members and included in the cost of general admission for non-members. There will also be selected free Saturday and Sunday admission days in April, May and June.

The nonprofit center is an all-inclusive, 33-acre destination featuring the museum, two historic houses, the Centennial Olympic Games Museum, the Kenan Research Center and acres of historic gardens and paths.

Information and tickets: (404) 814-4000 or

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The annual spring luncheon hosted by the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee Guild, the fundraising arm of the eponymous school, will recognize new members and friends and announce officers for the coming year. It will take place April 24 at the Cherokee Town Club in Buckhead.

There will be a special table for all past presidents and Katrina Graham, officer in charge of annual giving at the school, will conduct the formal installation. Lucy Ullmann and Rubye Reid are the luncheon co-chairs.

The school’s purposes are still close to the hearts of generations of Northside patrons who will make a pilgrimage to tour the school April 9.

For 83 years the nonprofit guild has continued its original purpose to create interest and support for the school, located in the North Georgia Mountains. Over the years the guild has provided buses, pianos, dorms, a swimming pool and classrooms. It also gives a yearly scholarship to a deserving local day student and, in honor of the school’s Presbyterian founders, gives all graduating seniors Bibles with their names engraved on the covers.

The school was established for underprivileged, isolated mountain students in 1903 and has evolved into a private, college-preparatory day and boarding school for grades five through 12 with a growing percentage of international students. It is recognized internationally for its outstanding academics, arts and athletic departments and its ties to the Georgia community.

Invitations and information: (404) 261-1123.

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The Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University in DeKalb County is legendary for its signature events. April 12, the museum will host its 23rd springtime Veneralia, the festival of Venus as it was known in ancient times, in the main museum on South Kilgo Circle.

Themed Enlighten, this year’s event will support the upcoming exhibition, “African Cosmos: Stellar Arts,” which explores how the celestial bodies of the sun, moon and stars served as inspiration in African art from ancient times to the present.

With light as their medium, local artists Steven L. Anderson, Stephanie Dowda, Karen Tauches and Bean Worley will transform the museum for an extraordinary experience. Atlanta jazz vocalist Alexandra Jackson will be a highlight of the elegant black-tie evening, which will include exquisite cuisine and a high-end silent auction.

The lights will turn down for a late-evening party for young associates with snacks, dessert shots and an open bar along with live music by Nathan Sexton.

Distinguished architects Lewis Nix and Henry Mann are being honored this year for their inspirational support of the lecture endowment at the museum.

Gala co-chairs are Tara and Richard Aaronson. Sara Shlesinger and Anne Paré are serving as patron co-chairs.

Founded in 1919, the museum collects, preserves, exhibits and interprets art and artifacts from antiquity to the present to provide unique opportunities for education and enrichment in the community and to promote interdisciplinary teaching and research at Emory.

Today, more than 100,000 visitors experience the facility each year.

Invitations and information: (404) 727-2115 or

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The two co-winners of the Pro-Mozart Society of Atlanta’s 2013 scholarship competition will be presented in a free afternoon concert April 13 at the Steinway Piano Galleries and Showroom, 1600 Northeast Expressway, off the Interstate 85 access road at Clairmont Road in DeKalb County.

The accomplished Georgia pianists, Mark Hadden and Tyler Walker, each received a $4,000 scholarship to study at the prestigious International Summer Academy of Mozarteum Institute in Salzburg, Austria, last summer and will share their experience and talent at this concert.

Hadden attends the University of Georgia in Athens and has been a pianist and choir accompanist at Midway United Methodist Church in Auburn. Walker, a student at Valdosta State University, has served as an organist at Park Avenue United Methodist Church in Valdosta. He is in New York studying and teaching.

“Studying Mozart’s piano music with some of the most distinguished professors in the world in Mozart’s hometown is the opportunity of a lifetime. I am excited to share the inspiration in this concert for the Pro-Mozart Society and classical musical enthusiasts,” Hadden said.

Society President Kevin Pritchett is serving as host for the concert.

Since its founding in the early 1960s by a dozen classical music supporters, the society has fostered the appreciation of classical music through free public concerts and an alliance with Salzburg. The organization’s major project is the sponsorship of an annual competition for aspiring Georgia musicians to receive a scholarship to the prestigious academy.

Information: (404) 667-4700 or

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