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Posted: November 12, 2012 6:47 p.m.

Veterans honored on the square

Photo by Darrell Everidge/

From every state represented by the 50 stars embedded in the American flag, current and retired members of the armed forces are honored for selflessly putting their lives at stake on the battlefield.

Newton County residents came to the square Monday to honor and pay respect to the local veterans who fought for their country.

Dr. Doug Gilreath, senior pastor at Covington First United Methodist Church, opened the ceremony with prayer. Gilreath's father served in the military and Gilreath remembers traveling as a youth with his mother and siblings to Dobbins Air Force Base in their Volkswagen 43 years ago to welcome his father home from the Vietnam War.

"I remember that there was a rope there that we had to stand behind. I remember thinking to myself, when I see my dad, there is no way this rope is going to hold me back. Sure enough that rope didn't hold us back. We held on to him like we had never held on to him before," Gilreath said.

"I am choosing today to remember my father's patriotism. I remember the pride that he passed on to all of his children and the respect he has for our country and our leaders."

The ceremony went on as Don Floyd, United States Coast Guard Veteran (1968-1979) recognized the Veterans of War World ll, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and the global war on terror. Each veteran stood in memory of the hardships of combat, basic training and leaving behind loved ones, while a wreath was placed in honor and representation for those who lost their lives. Marion Banks, veteran captain (1966), closed in prayer.

At the head of the altar, the words "Do this in remembrance of me," symbolize how God gave his life for each person on this earth, much like those soldiers who fought unselfishly for this country.

Gilreath encouraged those present to pass on memories to others because they each have a story to share. He thanked them for their service, obedience and willingness to sacrifice their tomorrow for this country's.

"I choose to remember today, but I say to you, take heart for this is a great country.

"My friends, there is power in remembering. Not remembering the small things, not remembering the insignificant things, not struggling over the little things. I am talking about remembering something that it becomes real to us in this moment that we remember the experience. Our memories inspire us and comfort us," Gilreath said.

As Gilreath's father told him, "A true soldier despises war, despises the conflict. The reason that we fought was because of the person beside us. We were willing to sacrifice our lives for them."

From every state represented by the 50 stars embedded in the American flag, current and retired members of the armed forces are honored for selflessly putting their lives at stake on the battlefield. In Newton County, residents came to the square Monday to honor and pay respect to the local veterans that fought for their county.

Dr. Doug Gilreath, senior pastor at Covington First United Methodist Church, opened the ceremony with prayer. Gilreath's father served in the military and Gilreath remembers traveling as a youth with his mother and siblings to Dobbins Air Force Base in their Volkswagen 43 years ago to welcome his father home from the Vietnam War.

"I remember that there was a rope there that we had to stand behind. I remember thinking to myself, when I see my dad there is no way this rope is going to hold me back...Sure enough that rope didn't hold us back...We held on to him like we had never held on to him before," says Gilreath.

"I am choosing today to remember my father's patriotism. I remember the pride that he passed on to all of his children and the respect he has for our country and our leaders."

The ceremony went on as Don Floyd, United States Coast Guard Veteran (1968-1979) recognized the Veterans of War World ll, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and the global war on terror. Each veteran stood in memory of the hardships of combat, basic training and leaving behind loved ones, while a wreath was placed in honor and representation for those who lost their lives. Marion Banks, veteran captain (1966), closed in prayer.

At the head of the altar, the words "Do this in remembrance of me," symbolize how God gave his life for each person on this earth, much like those soldiers who fought unselfishly for this country.

Gilreath encouraged those present to pass on memories to others because they each have a story to share. He thanked them for their service, obedience and willingness to sacrifice their tomorrow for this country's.

"I choose to remember today, but I say to you take heart for this is a great country.

"My friends, there is power in remembering. Not remembering the small things...not struggling over the little things...I am talking about remembering something that it becomes real to us in this moment that we remember the experience...Our memories inspire us, and comfort us," Gilreath said.

As Gilreath's father told him, "A true soldier despises war, despises the conflict. The reason that we fought was because of the person beside us. We were willing to sacrifice our lives for them."

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