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American Legion Post 32 hosts annual Memorial Day special ceremony
Memorial Day 1
City of Covington's annual Memorial Day ceremony took place in the Covington Square this year. (Photo by Charles Gilstrap)

COVINGTON, Ga. — The City of Covington held their annual Memorial Day program inside of the Square Monday morning, taking the moment to remember those who lost their lives serving the country. 

The service allowed for people to remember those names while also allowing veterans to speak to the crowd and tell their stories and the importance of Memorial Day.

The event also allowed for the people to remember those from Newton County who have lost their lives.

Retired Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Williams was the main speaker of the event. Williams served in the U.S. Army for over 25 years as Signal Corps Commander.

Williams served on many different assignments, including travel to Korea, Germany, Bosnia, Macedonia, Iraq, Kuwait, Ireland, Japan and across the United States.

Williams served in the 268th Signal Company in Mannheim, Germany before moving to the 15th Signal Brigade in Fort Gordon, GA. At Fort Gordon, Williams was responsible for training over 3,500 trainees. Serving as the Communications Systems Supervisor for the Directorate of Training, Williams was responsible for the procurement of $30 million dollars of communications equipment for wartime missions.

Serving as the Communications Operations and Plan Chief for Forces Command at Fort McPherson, Williams facilitated the procurement of $8.2 million dollars of communications equipment in support of army personnel, both foreign and domestic.

During his time in Iraq as the Information Technology Supervisor for United States Forces Command, Williams orchestrated a $5 million cellular phone infrastructure project which improved service to 4,500 customers.

In 2014, Williams became the Pastor of Mount Zion First Baptist Church in Oxford. There, Williams hosts a food pantry to help veterans and give back.

When speaking to American Legion Post Commander Marvin Banks, Banks explained how the food pantry is one of the many ways that Williams helps veterans in the area.

This years’ service was the largest it has ever been, with almost 300 people attending the program to honor those who have been lost.

“It was the biggest crowd we have ever had. The last few years we have had 75 or less, due to the pandemic,” Banks said. “It really cut down on the American Legion membership and all.”

Banks explained how the increased size of the event allowed veterans like himself to experience the gratitude of people showing up to experience the Memorial Day program.

“[The turnout] went that with everything going on in the world, these people found out what was going on and they came in to represent and let us know that we have their sincere thanks for the freedom that they now enjoy,” Banks said. “They came out in droves to let us know that they really appreciate the veterans and what is represented in the free world today.”

Banks, who is Post Commander at Post 32 in Covington, gave his thanks to the American Legion who helped organize the event and helped make it possible. Banks also talked about how the event also allowed veterans to see what the American Legion is and what all they can do to help veterans in Newton County. 

The event lasted throughout the morning but the message of Memorial Day will stick with those in attendance as they all came together to remember those who have died serving the country and the freedoms they have given everyone.