Several events are planned throughout the upcoming weekend to honor Veterans Day, which falls on Sunday. Veterans Day programs are scheduled for Sunday in Dawsonville and Monday in Gainesville.
The National Veterans Day Committee selected Dawsonville as the site for the regional commemorative ceremony. A parade is set for 3 p.m., with a ceremony to follow at 4 p.m. featuring two keynote speakers, a 21-gun salute and special recognition for active military. Parking will be available throughout downtown and at the Racing Hall of Fame.
"The entire community has rallied behind the opportunity to salute the men and women who have served our nation well," said Marty Williams, vice president of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce Tourism Bureau.
Gainesville and Hall County will honor its veterans with a ceremony at 11 a.m. Monday at the Georgia Mountains Center. Tom Oliver, chairman of the Hall County Board of Commissioners, will read a proclamation and speakers will include World War II veteran Joe Wood, Korean War veteran Bill Brown and Vietnam War veteran David Dellinger.
The Chestatee School Band Ensemble will perform, and the posting and retiring of colors will be handled by cadets from Riverside Military Academy. The Hall County Sheriff's office will perform a 21-gun salute and "Taps" will be played by the Hall County color guard.
Also on Monday, a flag ceremony for the retirement of old colors will be held at 4 p.m. at the American Legion Post No. 7 on Riverside Drive. The post invites people to bring their old flags for proper retirement.
Throughout the weekend, the Northeast Georgia History Center will be honoring veterans in the culmination of a series of open houses for various veterans groups held in recent months. The center will have an open house from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with free admission for veterans and their families both days. The center will hold a reception and will be showing Ken Burns' film about World War II, "The War."
John Jacobs, past president of the history center, said this weekend will also wrap up the Northeast Georgia Remembers World War II exhibit, which closes on Sunday. The exhibit includes memorabilia from the home front as well as items from both the Pacific and European theaters, Jacobs said, including uniforms and a Jeep.
In addition, visitors are encouraged to visit the American Freedom Garden, which features some 800 names of veterans on the pillars surrounding it, all of which will be listed in The Times on Sunday. Jacobs said the history center hopes to run the list, which he expects to grow as more names are added to the garden, every year.
Veterans Day officially is Sunday, but because many observe the holiday on Monday, banks and government offices may be closed. Other observances this weekend include:
Sunday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will waive all fees for veterans, active, reserve and guard members and their families visiting recreation areas managed by the corps. This includes boat ramp and beach fees, but fees for camping and specialized facilities like picnic shelters still will be charged.
Beginning today and continuing through Friday, the East Hall Navy JROTC program will be honoring veterans via the Hall County Schools system Web site.