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Local veterans cover Gainesville field with flags for Memorial Day
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Flags are placed in an area along Jesse Jewell Parkway in observance of Memorial Day. Photo Courtesy Billy Grimes

Dozens of American flags now greet those who drive past the end of the pedestrian bridge along Jesse Jewell Parkway in Gainesville.

The patriotic display represents those in Hall County who died while serving in the military.

When the annual Memorial Day was canceled in Gainesville because of the pandemic, Johnny Varner, veteran service officer of the American Legion Post 7, said he decided to establish a temporary Field of Honor

On Monday, May 25, local veterans from the American Legion, PTSD Foundation of America and other organizations placed over 150 flags into the patch of greenspace. 

Varner said a small ceremony was held to commemorate the county’s fallen soldiers.

"I would like to thank Sheriff (Gerald) Couch, Hall County Sheriff Department, and Sgt. (Kevin) Holbrook, City of Gainesville Police, for providing the joint color guard that supported our memorial ceremony,” Varner said. “Also, the American Legion Post 7 would like to give a gratitude of respect to City of Gainesville Council member Barbara Brooks for her passionate speech to memorialize the Veteran's Field of Honor, past and present."

The memorial will remain up until the end of the week. 

Varner said a Field of Honor chapter will soon be established in Hall County to erect the display each year and determine how many Hall County soldiers “paid the ultimate sacrifice.” 

“We’re (Post 7) planning to make queries with the funeral homes, then get with the Northeast Georgia Historical Society to see how to gather information about the number of flags that are needed for every veterean that has passed.”

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