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Some veterans had oxygen tanks, canes, but all stood on their day
Allen Burnham, left, Jim Grier, center, and Clinton Pruitt listen to a speaker at the groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday for the new Veterans Park in downtown Lula. The ceremony included speeches by local dignitaries, the national anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance. The park will be on Main Street in downtown Lula and will honor all veterans. - photo by Tom Reed

Video: Watch part of Tuesday's Veterans Day program at the Georgia Mountains Center.

Story: West Hall Middle honors veterans

As the Chestatee High School band played the songs of the branches of the armed services, the veterans stood.

For some, the standing required the assistance of a cane or walker. Others were tethered to an oxygen tank.

Tuesday was their day.

During a ceremony at the Georgia Mountains Center, veterans of all wars were honored for their service.

"History tells us that World War II was brought about by the collision of two different philosophies — democracy and the rule of law versus fascist dictatorship," said John W. Jacobs Jr., an Army veteran of World War II who addressed the gathering.

Jacobs, who served in Europe, recalled the nation’s dedication to the war.

"World War II had seen America commit its treasure and its blood in order to preserve democracy. After three and one-half years of global war, the cost in American lives was 405,399 dead."

Heyward Hosch, a retired banker who served in Korea, said his was the forgotten war.

"It was a bloody and difficult war for three years and it’s not over now," Hosch said. "We signed a cease-fire in 1953, but the war is still not over. Korea is still a divided country and hostile to us in North Korea."

Bill Harris, a Navy veteran of Vietnam, said he spent much of his time in a ship about 20 miles off the Vietnamese coast.

"It does my heart good to know the community supports our veterans," Harris said. "Vietnam was not a conflict; Vietnam was a war. No matter what the politicians want to tell you, we did not lose that war. The politicians in Washington lost that war."

In addition to speeches, a group of first- and second-grade students from Maranatha Christian Academy sang "God Bless America," and a group of high school students from the school recited the preamble to the U.S. Constitution.

An American flag was presented to Hall County sheriff’s Deputy Joe Groover, who was injured earlier this year in a shootout. Groover is also a veteran.

The observance of Veterans Day is held on the day the armistice was signed between the Allies and Germany in a railroad car in the Compiègne Forest in France.

The signing took place at the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month, which is the hour of traditional Veterans Day ceremonies.

After World War II, the holiday, originally called Armistice Day, was renamed Veterans Day in the U.S. and Remembrance Day in the United Kingdom.

The flower of the poppy is worn on Veterans Day and is tied to Canadian physician John McCrae’s poem "In Flanders Fields."

A Walton County native, Moina Michael, was an employee of the YMCA overseas war secretaries and is credited with making the first collection of 25 silk poppies.