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Marine Corps League chapter rededicates monument
Members recycle old hangers
The Marine Corps League Upper Chattahoochee Detachment No. 665 raises the United States flag.

The hot July sun beat down on a group of U.S. Marine Corps veterans while they saluted the flag they worked so hard to defend.

The Marine Corps League Upper Chattahoochee Detachment No. 665 raised the American flag and Marine Corps flag on Thursday after repairing a broken flagpole with the help of the Gainesville Fire Department and the Hall County Maintenance Department.

The group also rededicated the Marine Corps monument at the Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center in Gainesville.

The monument honors all past, present and future Hall County veterans and was originally installed Nov. 13, 1993.

After the original members of Detachment No. 665 disbanded, the monument fell into disrepair.

The group was revived in 2008, and after a little more than two years of saving to fix the monument, the men said they were proud to see their efforts rewarded.

Frank Cornell, past commandant, was at the first dedication and said he was glad to raise the flags over the monument again.

“It’s wonderful. ... It kind of got let go and it’s been neglected for years, and we’re bringing it back with a rededication,” Cornell said.

Jim Lamb, life member, was also present for the first dedication.

“This brought back some memories about the past, and I’m glad to see it together again,” Lamb said.

Cornell and Lamb explained that the original detachment was once 100 members strong but had fallen to about 12.

Now, they said they are happy to see their numbers rising again. Today the group has about 80 members, nearly 60 who are Marine veterans.

“We’re stronger now than we were before,” Lamb said.

That strength, Lamb said, comes from the members being more cooperative with one another and more “gung ho” about helping their fellow soldiers.

Senior vice commandant David Godfrey said the group is stronger because its ability to raise funds has increased since the detachment was revived. The members often have what they call “hanger parties” and recycle old hangers. They also work at racetracks to raise money.

The group isn’t just open to Marine veterans. Anyone, including spouses, relatives, friends or just those who wish to support the veterans, is welcome to become an associate member.

The group is now focusing on helping those Marines who are coming home from the war in Afghanistan.

“If they belonged to our outfit, we took care of them and we still do today. That’s the way it works. We’re a very strong fraternity,” Godfrey said. “The Marine Corps League is semper fi, and that’s Latin for always faithful.”

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