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Another local tribute to 13 fallen heroes

Thanks to the Wiregrass Chapter, the local branch of the Georgia Society Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), a second tribute has been set up in the area to pay homage to the 13 late U.S. military service members.

According to Compatriot Dess Smith III, Vietnam veteran and fellow Compatriot John Tapley Jr. of the Wiregrass contacted the chapter about honoring the 11 Marines, one Navy corpsman, and one Army soldier who were killed by an ISIS-K suicide bomber outside the Kabul airport while helping to oversee the humanitarian evacuation mission of thousands of Americans and Afghan allies on August 26, 2021.

Tapley organized an event that would take place on Friday, September 4, around 9 a.m. at Patriots Park.

Ahead of the event, Tapley purchased 13 U.S. flags, PVC pipe, and zipties, then put them together and brought them to the weekly meeting at Leannas Cafe.

Nine members then went to the corner of Highway 80 East and Highway 57 North and, with permission, erected the flags as a memorial. Additionally, the Wiregrass Chapter placed each service member’s initials on a flagpole.

Following the attaching of the flags out the outside fence, Wiregrass Chaplain Emory Fennell said a prayer for the families and the nation. Smith then called the honor guard to attention and gave the command to present arms.

Closing out the event, Artillery Commander Steve Burke filed three volleys from his six-pounder naval cannon.

The memorial remains today. As such, it is the second memorial to be organized in the community. Berni’s set up a display inside its West Main restaurant on August 31.

The photo that accompanies this article is credited to Joyce Fennell.

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