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Happy Memorial Day

This year, Memorial Day falls on Monday, May 31. While most people associate this particular holiday with a day off work, backyard barbecues, and the beginning of summer, the heart of Memorial Day means so much more; it exists to honor and mourn military personnel who have died in performance of their military duties while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

On that note, here’s some local trivia that relates to Memorial Day. While the names of these individuals are unavailable, Georgia Veterans Memorial Cemetery (GVMC) in Glennville serves as the final resting place for eight late Emanuel veterans, according to Earnie Cowart, superintendent director.

For many years, GVMC–Glennville has hosted Memorial Day ceremonies to honor these veterans (and others) for paying the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. Often, these ceremonies are held in conjunction with Glennville’s American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts with other organizations local to the area such as Boy Scout troops, Children of the American Revolution, JROTC units, and high school bands taking part as well. These ceremonies usually include a special address from a guest speaker, the laying of wreaths, presentation of colors, and the performing of “Taps.”

Last year’s ceremony was canceled due to COVID. Unfortunately, GVMC–Glennville will not resume its public Memorial Day celebration this year, but workers there have already placed flags at each grave in honor of the holiday. Furthermore, if you’d like to pay your respects on your own, this special cemetery is situated on the 42.6-acre site of the former Dyess Farm just north of Glennville’s city limits along U.S. Highway 301, 25 miles west of the main post of Fort Stewart. Visitation hours are 8 a.m. to dusk daily.

The initial 26-acre phase of the cemetery contains 1,400 pre-placed in-ground double vaults, for eligible veterans, their spouses, and eligible dependents; 766 conventional single-depth sites; 1,384 cremation interment sites, which include a columbarium and in-ground sites; and 429 spaces for memorial markers. These memorial markers are placed in the memory of those veterans whose remains are unavailable for burial.

GVMC–Glennville was dedicated November 28, 2007 and will eventually be the final resting place for more than 21,000 veterans, their spouses, and eligible dependents. Some 1,595 veterans, spouses, and family members have been interred there since December 31, 2019.

Memorial Day, previously but now seldom called Decoration Day, is always observed on the last Monday in May. Two similar holidays exist: Armed Forces Day (earlier in May every year) is an unofficial celebration for those currently serving in the armed forces while Veterans Day (always on November 11) honors those who have previously served in the military.

Ahead of Memorial Day, here’s some guidance to help ensure you display Old Glory the right way:

• Fly the flag as often as you’d like, but especially on national and state holidays and on special occasions as ordered by the governor or president.

• On Memorial Day, the flag should be displayed at half-staff—but only until noon.

• Be sure to remove the flag during inclement weather so it’s not damaged. (This doesn’t apply to flags made of “all-weather” material like nylon, though.)

• Flags should traditionally be flown from sunrise until sunset, but they can remain displayed throughout the night if illuminated.

• When city, state, or organization flags are flown on the same staff, the U.S. flag should always be at the top.

• If a flag will not be flown on a staff, it should be hung so the union (stars) are up and to the flag’s right, meaning to the observer’s left. Flags can also be hung vertically, folds falling feely, with the union in the same position (to the observer’s left).

• When it is time to retire a flag, the flag code suggests it be “destroyed, preferably by burning.” If you do not want to carry out this process yourself, you can contact your local American Legion post.

For more information about American flag etiquette, visit legion.org/flag/code. For further information about Memorial Day, go to usmemorialday.org. If you’d like more information about Georgia Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Glennville, visit https://veterans.georgia.gov/services/memorial-cemeteries/gvmc-glennville.

Our office will be closed in honor of Memorial Day on Monday, May 31. The Chronicle will re-open for business Tuesday, June 1.

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