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Youth groups place flags to honor veterans on Memorial Day
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Every year for Memorial Day and Veterans Day, the JROTC students at Jackson County High School place flags and crosses in the cemetery in Jefferson. - photo by Tom Reed

Memorial Day is a holiday of remembrance.

In general, memorial services are organized by various veterans groups or local adults.

Most people don’t think about involving the younger members of the community, but several local youth groups are showing that they, too, have reverence for those who have paid the ultimate price.

For the past eight years, students in the Jackson County Comprehensive High School JROTC program have created a temporary memorial of flags and crosses at the Woodbine Cemetery in Jefferson in honor of Memorial Day.

Each flag and cross pair represent a Jackson County soldier who has been killed since World War I.

"We put the flags and crosses out every year for Memorial Day. We also put them out for Veterans Day," said Lt. Col. Eric Cleveland, who is a JROTC instructor at the high school.

"We make it a service learning project for the students."

Currently, there are 119 Jackson County veterans represented in the student memorial.

Gainesville members of the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia also make a yearly visit to the Alta Vista Cemetery to put out flags in honor of fallen soldiers for Memorial Day. They plan to place those flags today.

For the Jackson County students, many who may someday serve in one of the branches of the armed forces, the project is about acknowledging those who have come before them.

"The students really learn a lot about each of the soldiers who are represented," Cleveland said.

"We talk about them in class and discuss the experiences that each of the soldiers had. This project gives them a small idea about the magnitude of the sacrifices that have been made by veterans who gave their futures for our country."

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