Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2667 wants to learn about the 13 Cowetans who lost their lives in World War I.
The Memorial Day program on May 29 in Newnan will focus on the local men who died fighting “the big war.” There will be activities in Newnan and in Senoia on Memorial Day.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into World War I. On April 6, 1917, the United States entered the multinational conflict in Europe. Woodrow Wilson, president at the time, said it was destined to be “the war to end all wars.”
“Our country, in a frenzy of patriotism, expanded the military, seeing it grow with enlistments and a compulsory draft. Nearly 2 million men and women served at home and ‘over there’ during the war,” said Dick Stender, a VFW member who is organizing the May 29 event in Veterans Memorial Plaza at Temple Avenue and Jackson Street in downtown Newnan.
The program will start at 11 a.m.
As the United States entered World War I, Coweta County answered the call and sent young men off to become “doughboys,” the nickname for infantry soldiers. Those men were sent “to fight the Hun, to repay LaFayette, and punish Kaiser Bill,” Stender observed.
In the end, 53,000 Americans lost their lives in combat, plus another 63,000 who died of influenza and other causes. The names of the 13 Cowetans who were killed are inscribed on the World War I Honor Roll plaque in Veterans Memorial Plaza.
They are Samuel Charlton, Willie Couch, Benn Elliott, Jesse C. Fincher, Homer Gentry, Carey J. Hardaway, Alvin Hugh Harris, Buddy Leach, Charles N. McGee, Tom Nealy, Isaiah Pullen, Millard T. Trouten and John Whattley.
“The VFW is seeking any descendants, or anyone who has some knowledge of these honored men,” Stender said.
As with past Memorial Day programs, the VFW aims to commemorate the nation’s combat losses with memories and stories of local war dead.
“While media archives offer some detail, the human voice and story will bring feelings and local flavor to our ceremony,” Stender said.
The goal is to offer as personal a remembrance of the war heroes as possible to connect them to their hometowns they fought for.
“Stories, pictures, souvenirs and memorabilia will add greatly to the meaning of our program,” said John Skinner, post commander. “Our program depends on this public support.”
Anyone choosing to respond is asked to contact the Post 2667 by regular mail at: Coweta Veterans’ Club, Attn: WWI, PO Box 544, Newnan, GA 30264, by telephone at 770-301-6076, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Senoia’s 12th annual Memorial Day Remembrance and Festival will be May 29 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. in downtown Senoia.
“We will be featuring a meet and greet with veterans, a parade, plus a showcase of military vehicles and a flyover,” said Melissa Howell, marketing consultant with the Senoia Downtown Development Authority.
There will be a food court featuring Chick-Fil-A. Antique dealers will display their wares, and children’s activities are also planned.
The schedule in Senoia is: welcome, 10 a.m.; performance by Music Alive, 11 a.m.; patriotic program, noon; performance by Shades of Red, 1 p.m.; parade featuring the 116th Army Band, 2 p.m.; and moment of silence followed by a mini-concert by the Army Band, 3 p.m.
Angela Odom, a retired U.S. Army colonel, will be the keynote speaker for the noon program.
￼There will be fireworks at dark over Merimac Lakes Park on Pylant Street. Howell said parking for the fireworks will be available at the ball fields on Howard Road.
Main Street will be closed to automobile traffic, and other streets may also be closed. Senoia’s Memorial Day activities are sponsored by the Senoia Downtown Development Authority.