Union County GA Magazine . Holiday & Winter 2018-19 . www.unioncountymag.com Page 17 Veterans Day 2018 in Blairsville The American Legion of Blairsville sponsored the Veterans Day Ceremony 2018 held in Union County to honor Veterans. The event in a packed MAC building at First United Methodist Church of Blairsville took place on Monday since Veterans Day (Nov. 11) occurred on a Sunday. Participating in the event were the Veterans organization of Union County - Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, American Legion, Vietnam Veterans, and Seabees. Lunch was served by the American Legion Auxiliary, assisted by the Old Unicoi Trail Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. “We all contribute to this event,” said American Legion Commander Mike Ayers. “We want to say thank you to the businesses who donated money to the event so those who attended did not have to By Norm Cooper Editor, Union County GA Magazine families who seek answers. The Bible represents strength gained through faith to sustain those who are lost from America. “The glasses are inverted to symbolize their inability to share in today’s toast and activities,” said Spaulding. “The chairs are empty, they are missing.” Those attending raised their drink as a toast to honor Prisoners of War and those Missing In Action. Commanders Award The Commanders Award was presented by Veterans of Foreign War Commander Richard Hoibraten, North Georgia Honor Guard Commander Wayne Roshaven, Seabees Commander Keith Hunter, Vietnam Veterans of America President Chuck Kittredge, American Legion Commander Mike Ayers and Disabled American Veterans Commander Skip Fischback. The Commanders Award recognizes those who contribute to local Veterans and for what they do in the community.The 2018 award was presented to Phil Gatlin. Commanders’ Award presented to Phil Gatlin (center) “I can not think of a guy who is buy their lunch this year.” more deserving,” said Ayers. “He works long, hard Three highlights of the Veterans Day event was hours. He visits Veterans in their homes and he the ‘Missing Man Ceremony’, the presentation of goes to the nursing homes. He has a genuine heart the ‘Commanders Award’ and a ‘Special Award’. for people and their needs.” Missing Man Ceremony Gatlin expressed his appreciation for the award. The event began with several entering the room He stated that he was accepting the award on behalf in single file, each carrying a hat that represented of all former chaplains who have served and the Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy and Coast current chaplains presently serving. Guard, along with a civilian hat. They placed the Special Award hats on the table as those attending remained seated A Special Award for Jack McCorkle was to be and watched quietly. presented to him following the event since he was Bob Spaulding, director of the Georgia unable to attend due to health reasons. Department of Veterans Service in Union County, “I have gotten to know this guy and love him,” explained the meaning of the hats, the table and said Ayers. “We need to pay honor to him.” items on the table. The plaque reads, “From a grateful nation and The hats are placed on a raised table, each on a from the Veterans of Union County, to Master plate arranged for a meal. The table is reserved Sergeant Jack McCorkle, United States Marine for the missing comrades - the six place settings representing those missing from each branch of military service and one for the civilians who are missing their family members. “The table is round to show our everlasting concern for the men and women who are still missing. The table cloth is white to symbolize the purity of their motives when answering the call to duty.” The single red rose in the vase represents the life of each of the missing and their loved ones. The ribbon tied symbolizes the determination to account for the missing. “A slice of lemon on the bread plate is to remind us of the bitter fate of those who were captured or went missing in a foreign land,” said Spaulding. A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears endured by those missing and their The Missing Man Ceremony at the Veterans Day event in Blairsville was a solemn time to remember those missing. It was conducted by Bob Spaulding (seen at podium near wall). photos/NormC Placing the hats and the branch of service those hats represent are: Mike Ayers Army, Charlie Sowers Marine Corp, Don Sullivan Navy, John Lemmon Air Force, Wayne Roshaven Marine Corp, Darrell Rich Civilian. Table in Missing Man Ceremony Corp Retired, we present this plaque in appreciation for all you have done over the years.” McCorkle was a moving force with the North Georgia Honor Guard, getting it started and running. He has been involved with every Veterans organization in the county. The Veterans Day Ceremony began when CSM (Ret) Roy Hamby was the director of the Georgia Department of Veteran Affairs Blairsville office, then continued under Bob Spaulding. This year the American Legion coordinated the event.