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What U.S. Rep. Doug Collins had to say about veterans at annual celebration
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Army veteran Alvin Clifton salutes Monday, Nov. 12, 2018, during the annual Veterans Day Program at Lakewood Baptist Church. - photo by Scott Rogers

Heavy rain canceled one of two Veterans Day events Monday but didn’t otherwise dampen the spirits of those gathered for an annual ceremony at Lakewood Baptist Church in Gainesville.

U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, was the featured speaker.

He said he has heard much about how “the only people who go in the military are those who can’t cut it, those who are not good enough.

“I’m telling you right now the ones who go in the military are the best, finest and brightest that we have. We have the best military in the world. Why? Not because of the toys, but because of the people who serve.”

Collins, an Air Force Reserve chaplain who served in Iraq, said that while people might consider Veterans Day in some general sense involving the armed services, the day is more about the individuals in uniform.

“My question for us is, ‘What about you? What’s your service?’” he asked the audience. “For those who have served in the military, thank you. For those coming up, this is a great place (to serve). Our country is only as good as those willing to sacrifice for it.”

He gave a few examples of those who have served the U.S., including a young servicewoman he met in Iraq who had given birth to a daughter four months earlier.

“If you’ve ever wondered about the state of our country, don’t wonder very much when you have young ladies like that,” Collins said. “That’s the kind of sacrifice that this country brings out.”

The Nov. 12 event, sponsored by American Legion Paul E. Bolding Post 7 in Gainesville, also featured patriotic music from Chestatee High School’s band and a Maranatha Christian Academy chorus, plus the customary laying of memorial wreaths and remembering of prisoners of war and those missing in action.

Also, there was the tolling of 11 bells, meant to signify the end of World War I. Sunday, Nov. 11, was the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

“As you’ve heard before, (it was called) the war to end all wars, which we know didn’t happen,” American Legion past commander Ron Kellner said.

“We continue to have our young men and women in conflicts and wars to protect the peace, tranquility and safety not only of our people or country, but other countries.”

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U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, talks about the POW/MIA table Monday, Nov. 12, 2018, at Lakewood Baptist Church during the annual Veterans Day program at the Gainesville church. - photo by Scott Rogers