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NEWS | May 27, 2021

Georgia Department of Defense observes Memorial Day 2021

By Capt. Bryant Wine

The Georgia Department of Defense held its annual Memorial Day observance ceremony May 27, 2021, at Clay National Guard Center in Marietta, Georgia. U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Thomas Carden, The Adjutant General of Georgia, presided over the event.

“Today we gather like so many times before to honor our fallen,” said Carden. “They are American heroes, men and women from all walks of life, that gave all of their tomorrows for our today.”

The observance ceremony took place at the memorial wall on Clay National Guard Center. The memorial wall enshrines plaques of 43 Georgia Army National Guard Soldiers who died while supporting combat operations after 9/11. All 43 names were read aloud in a roll call during the ceremony, followed by the playing of “Taps.”

“I bring people to this wall very often when they come here to visit this headquarters,” said Carden. “I remind them that there is no such thing as weekend warriors. There is not a single face on this wall that is missing from our presence only on the weekend; they’re gone from us and their families forever.”

Retired Command. Sgt. Maj. James Nelson, chairman of the Freedom Calls Memorial Foundation, began the ceremony with a reading of the history of Memorial Day.

U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Chadara Vivo, superintendent of the Georgia Air National Guard, personnel, followed Nelson with a reading of John McCrae’s poem, “In Flanders Fields.”

Carden and Command Sgt. Maj. Jeff Logan, the state command sergeant major of the Georgia Army National Guard, laid a wreath and rendered honors during the roll call in respect of the 1.3 million service members that perished in America’s wars and the 43 enshrined Georgia National Guardsmen.

Two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters with the Georgia Army National Guard’s Marietta-based Aviation Troop Command flew over the ceremony in honor of the fallen after Taps.

U.S. Army Maj. John Pirtle, chaplain of the Georgia Army National Guard’s Macon-based 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, gave the opening invocation and benediction to end the event.

“We owe so much to those that paid the ultimate price for freedom,” said Carden. “More than anything, we owe it to them to make life count and to never take freedom for granted.”