The Northeast Georgia History Center ended its Veterans Week celebration with A Salute to Veterans and Their Families on Sunday, teaching participants about life in the military.
Part of the Family Day series, the program showcased several displays with paintings, photographs and artifacts from wars, provided arts and crafts projects, and hosted 12 veterans, including Al Nixon, a Vietnam vet, and Fran Johnson, former secretary to Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Nixon has been volunteering and lecturing at schools for the past three years.
“This past week I’ve been to three schools in Hall County giving lectures to the kids about veterans,” Nixon said.
“They had a lot of good questions. It was a good experience.”
The Vietnam vet hopes to continue educating school groups about the war and why freedom is so important. He has high hopes for the continuation of the program.
“It gets bigger each year, especially at the schools. Some of them video the whole presentation, and I think they’re already looking forward to next year and doing more classes,” Nixon said.
Johnson, member of the Women’s Army Corps, served as one of four secretaries for Eisenhower. Like Nixon, Johnson also tours various schools, giving lectures and sharing her experience.
“It’s part of our history. It’s our culture. It’s very important that the young people know where they come from,” Johnson said.
Johnson was inspired to get involved by her father’s military career. He served in the medical corps during World War I.
“Knowing about the wars is as important as any part of our history. In fact, it’s lately one of the major reasons for learning,” Johnson said.
Julie Carson, education and volunteer coordinator with the history center organized the weeklong events, from the crafts and projects to the speakers and presentations.
“Three schools brought students here. One group was huge. We went to South Hall Middle, Myers (Elementary), East Hall Middle and a few others,” Carson said. “We organized the veterans going out to the schools.”
With a group of 12-15 volunteers and more than 80 visitors, Carson, deemed the Family Day a success.
The veteran lecture series began in 2007. Last year marked the first appearance of the artwork and artifacts display. Children and adults were encouraged to add their handprints to a handmade scale of the American flag which will be sent to a unit in
Afghanistan, as well as writing letters and creating care packages, and making patriot wreaths.
The Northeast Georgia History Center hosts Family Day the second Sunday every month from 1-4 p.m. For more information, go to www.negahc.org.