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Veterans Day honors military heroes of all conflicts
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Tuesday is Veterans Day, when at the 11th hour on the 11th day of November, the 11th month, citizens and veterans across the country honor and remember veterans of all wars.

Capt. Stephen Wilbanks of the Hall County Sheriff’s Department is scheduled to speak at the annual ceremony in Gainesville at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Lakewood Baptist Church.

It was that hour in 1918 that the Armistice was signed, ending World War I and hostilities between the Germans and Allied forces, which included American military. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the time as Armistice Day, now Veterans Day, and the first observance was held the next year, 1919.

After the war, Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt Jr. proposed an organization of veterans that would support each other, serve the community and help returning servicemen and women readjust to lives in their hometowns. Within a year, American Legion posts were formed in 45 states. An American Legion Auxiliary followed.

Gainesville’s American Legion Post 7, which usually leads Veterans Day locally, organized in August 1920. It was named the Paul E. Bolding post in honor of the Hall Countian who was one of the first from this area to die of wounds in battle overseas in October 1918.

Edgar Dunlap Sr., a veteran who spearheaded formation of an American Legion, was Post 7’s first commander. Other charter officers were W. Henry Smith, vice-
commander, Pete Craig, adjutant, and
Hayward Pearce, historian.

The American Legion home acquired by the post in February 1947 had been the clubhouse for the local golf club. It later burned, and a new home built on the same site overlooking Lake Lanier at the former Georgia Power Co. camp at the end of Riverside Drive.

A Eugene Brown Post 521 American Legion also organized in Hall County.

Here are some other notes related to wartime in Hall County:

In 1917, Congress passed the conscription bill, which would enlist a half million men ages 21-40 into the armed forces out of some seven million registered. Prominent citizens were among the first called: H.H. Estes, John Woodcock, Jeff Hulsey, Boyd Sloan, E.H. Palmour and Sidney O. Smith Sr.

Three Hall County friends, Louis Whitehead, Ed Finger and Jones Palmour, Army aviators, accidentally met in France during the war in 1918. They were able to spend a short time together and reminisce about times back home.

During World War II, Gainesville conducted its first “blackout,” when lights all over the city were doused, in February 1943. H.E. Terrell was Civil Defense director, and he marshaled 500 volunteer workers to participate in the drill.

In 1940, Hall County registered 4,282 men for the military draft at a local school.

It was during that war that Gainesville secured an anti-aircraft unit of the Georgia National Guard.

In 1943, Owen-Osborne hosiery mill in Gainesville received a contract from the military to make 80,000 parachutes.

Despite tight times during World War II, the Gainesville News was able to purchase a new press and send the old one to the scrap-metal war effort, apparently becoming a piece of armament to be used against the Japanese.

Gas rationing began in 1942. Nonessential vehicles were allowed only 3 gallons of gas a week.

On V-E Day (Victory in Europe) May 8, 1945, thousands of Hall Countians gathered in front of the courthouse to celebrate when the news broke early that morning.

All who served in the military are considered heroes. Denver Truelove of Lula was a bombardier on a plane dropping bombs on Tokyo and was among “Doolittle’s Raiders,” earning numerous medals for his missions. He died in action over Italy in 1943. Second Lt. Alexander Ninninger, a Gainesville native, earned the Congressional Medal of Honor for killing several enemy snipers and destroying several Japanese units before dying himself in battle.

In World War I, A.B.C. (Chunk) Dorsey received the Croix de Guerre in addition to other honors for his service in France. Pvt. Henry Stuart of Gainesville also earned the Croix de Guerre and other medals in France.

Northeast Georgia History Center will be among organizations honoring veterans. Starting Tuesday, admission will be free to the Freedom Garden, a military exhibit will be displayed, and veterans will be admitted to the center free. Veterans also will be speaking to school classes on their experiences.

Johnny Vardeman is retired editor of The Times.

 

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