Saturday, September 27, 2008

Honor Flight Fayette Day Proclaimed October 8

At their September 25th meeting, the Fayette County Commissioners honored the upcoming and 2nd flight organized by Honor Flight Fayette to send World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., at no charge to them, to visit their memorial and share memories with their comrades in arms from that war.

Plans have been in the works for this trip literally since the return of the inaugural flight of HFF last May. Board members, guardians, medical personnel and volunteers have worked consistently to raise the necessary funds needed to make this trip a memorable one for the veterans, who will be provided with plane tickets, meals, snacks, and motor coach transportation. Also, a guardian will be assigned 2-3 veterans for the day, and their job is to make sure that each and every need of the vets is being met.

The public is encouraged to participate in this exciting day by either seeing the veterans off at 7:00 a.m., or welcoming them back about 10:00 that evening at the Fayetteville First United Methodist Church. The veterans from the May trip were very touched by those who came out to honor them, in their own community, by cheering and waving flags and banners.

As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization led by a dedicated board of directors, Honor Flight Fayette is committed to this labor of love and determination to take as many veterans as possible as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, we are losing these brave men and women at a rate of over 1,400 per day, so time is definitely of the essence. And we must ask ourselves, "at what cost did they secure my freedoms and how can I repay them?"

If you would like to know more about this organization or make a donation toward the next flight, please visit or call 770-719-1024.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Senator Chance Reflects on Constitution and Georgia for Fayetteville DAR

Pictured (l-r) are Georgia Senator Ronnie Chance, Regent Betty Harrah and Linda Robinson.

"I am a servant of the people in your Senate," said Georgia Senator Ronnie Chance as he recently spoke to the James Waldrop Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution on the US Constitution and Georgia government. Senator Chance was honored with a Certificate of Appreciation for his ongoing support of the Constitution in both his personal and government service roles.

On display at the dinner meeting was the 2007 National Award Winning Constitution Week Notebook as well as bells used in the Bells Across America Ceremony. The James Waldrop Chapter DAR is chartered in Fayetteville, GA.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Patriotic Kick-Off Continues

Photos: Starr Mill High School Choral Students and 8th Grade Chorus members from Rising Starr Middle School
For the fifth year in a row the Starr’s Mill High School football home opener commenced with a patriot expression by the school’s chorus members.
Under the direction of Dr. John Odom and Ms. Julia Lotti, members of the SMHS Chorus sang an acappella version of our National Anthem; The Star Spangled Banner, from the football field end zone.
The high school students were joined by future Panther vocalists; 8th grade chorus members from Rising Starr Middle school. Unfortunately the Panther’s lost the game against the Tri-Cities Bulldogs 13-14, but they won the hearts of local patriots who attended the game.
Starr's Mill High School is located in Fayette County, Georgia.
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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Civilian Leaders Make Emotional Pentagon Memorial Visit

Civilian leaders in the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference wrapped up the first day of their Pentagon visit here today with an emotional walk through the new Pentagon Memorial dedicated less than two weeks earlier to honor victims of the 9-11 Pentagon attack.

Dusk was beginning to settle over Washington as the business, civic, community and academic leaders from around the country walked among the 184 benches, each bearing the name of a man, woman or child lost in the attack.

They paused to reflect on the granite and stainless steel benches, 59 facing the Pentagon to represent the passengers killed on hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 and 125 facing the opposite direction to represent those killed in the building.

Several of the benches had flowers on them left by earlier visitors.

The stop at the Pentagon Memorial after a full day of briefings and tours was particularly meaningful for some of the JCOC participants.

David Burke, managing director of DEPFA Bank in New York, was in a building next to the World Trade Center the morning of the 9/11 attacks. He remembers going out onto the street and seeing the disaster all around him – fires burning, sirens wailing and people jumping out of windows to escape the chaos.

Burke counts himself lucky, knowing just one person personally who perished in the attack.

Walking through the Pentagon Memorial brought back painful memories of the losses of 9/11, but also memories of the kind of heroism he witnessed firsthand. "It makes you think about all the people here that day who rushed toward catastrophe when everyone else's instinct would be to rush away from it," he said, a tear in his eye.

Like Burke, Judge Carol Hansen of the Oklahoma Court for Civil Affairs, felt a personal connection to the Pentagon Memorial. She and her neighbors in Oklahoma City experienced what until 9/11 had been the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil on April 19, 1995.

Hansen reflected on the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum that honors the 168 people killed in that attack, and said she hopes the Pentagon Memorial helps bring solace to those who lost loved ones there. "But how do you ever really find solace after something like that?" she said. "It's something none of us can really say we understand, because we just can't."

Other JCOC participants who walked among the memorial called it a fitting tribute to the memory of those lost on 9/11. "It's meaningful and it's elegant. It's a good place to reflect," said Alan Bersin, chairman of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority in California. "This is really extraordinary."

Earlier in the afternoon, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England told the participants it's critical that the United States stand up to violent extremists who attacked on 9/11 and have every intention of attacking the United States again.

"Do you know why 3,000 people died that day?" he asked. "We lost 3,000 people that day because the guys who did it didn't know how to kill 30,000 or 300,000 or 3 million. But they would have if they could have."

England said the only way to confront the terrorist threat is head-on. "I am absolutely convinced that if we ever get off the side where we are no longer on the offense, we will be in serious trouble," he said. "When [extremists] are on the offense and we are on the defense, we lose. You cannot play defense, not in the United States of America."

The JCOC participants visited the Pentagon today before beginning a weeklong trip through U.S. European Command to observe military operations aimed at stopping terrorists and other threats.

The first U.S. defense secretary, James V. Forrestal, created the JCOC in 1948 to introduce civilian "movers and shakers" with little or no military exposure to the workings of the armed forces. Nearly six decades later, it remains DoD's premier civic leader program.

Participants are selected from hundreds of candidates nominated by military commands worldwide and pay their own expenses throughout the conference. JCOC participants are selected from hundreds of candidates nominated by military commands worldwide and pay their own expenses throughout the conference.

This is just the second year that the conference has included visits to U.S. installations overseas.

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
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Friday, September 19, 2008

Honor Flight Fayette Takes Off on October 8th for Washington

Standing (l-r) are guardians Col. Doug Pearson, Sue Memmer and Medical Coordinator Linda Payne. Seated (l-r) are Honor Flight Fayette President Gail Sparrow reviewing plans with Guardian Dan Lorton.

Preparations are in the works to take a 2nd group of World War II veterans from Fayette County to Washington, D.C., free of charge to them, on a one day trip to see their memorial on October 8th.

After a successful inaugural flight last May, and positive feedback from the veterans on that flight, excitement is building as final arrangements are being made by board members, guardians, volunteers and supporters.

Many veterans stated that this was a trip they never thought they would get to make and were so grateful to have gone, and some shared stories they had never spoken of before the trip. Likewise, guardians for the veterans said it was a moving experience that they would never forget, in part because of the many stories they heard from the veterans. However, all agreed that it was a day unlike any other that they still speak about often, with excitement and gratitude.

Honor Flight is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose only mission is to say thank you in a small way to the men and women of the "greatest generation" who made our way of life possible at enormous cost to them.

If you would like to be a part of Honor Flight Fayette as a guardian, volunteer or to make a donation, please visit or call 770-719-1024.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Patchwork Quilt Salutes Fallen U.S. Military Women

Photo: (Left to right) Donna J. Birtwistle, Mavis Olsen, Marlene Wallace and Penny Eakin stand before their patchwork quilt at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, Sept. 17, 2008. The quilt honors military women who've died during the global war on terrorism. Defense Dept. photo by Gerry J. Gilmore

A red, white and blue patchwork quilt commemorating the 113 U.S. military women who've died during the global war on terrorism was unveiled for public view at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial today.

The hand-sewn quilt features a stars-and-stripes motif that displays the names of the fallen within the stripes. It was crafted by 10 women from several small communities in the Pacific Northwest, with additional support provided by another 16 women, also from Oregon or the state of Washington.

Fourteen of these women traveled to Arlington National Cemetery to attend the unveiling ceremony held inside the women's memorial. The quilt will be displayed inside the memorial until January or so, when it will be taken for display at U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals.

Retired Army Staff Sgt. Donna J. Birtwistle, a former military nurse from Moro, Ore., said she began thinking of making the quilt this spring after attending a military veterans group meeting. Then, she said, her community was saddened by the loss of Army Cpl. Jessica A. Ellis, who died in Iraq on May 11. Ellis was from Bend, Ore., about 135 miles south of Moro.

Birtwistle, who sews, found a sponsor to provide the quilted material and solicited volunteers from across the area to cut and sew the cloth. Work began June 10 and the quilt was completed about a month later. Birtwistle eventually contacted the women's memorial to see if the quilt could be displayed there.

The colorful quilt "is all hand-made," Birtwistle said proudly. It's important to honor military women who've fallen in conflict, she said, because they, too, serve in harm's way alongside their male counterparts.

"They are just as tough and just as hardy as the men are," Birtwistle said of military women.

Mary Anne Macnab from Wasco, Ore., said the quilt also was created to comfort grieving families and "to honor these women who've made the ultimate sacrifice."

Other women involved in the quilting project who attended the ceremony included Mary Lou Massie and Marlene Wallace of Wasco; Sharon Simantel, Mavis Olsen, Sheila Weber and Marylea Sanders of Moro; Elizabeth Hazel, Camille Hurd and Linda Simkus of Goldendale, Wash.; Penny Eakin of Grass Valley, Ore.; and Julie Cordahl of Cle Elum, Wash.

Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Wilma L. Vaught, president of the Women's Memorial Foundation, thanked the women for the quilt and for their efforts on behalf of military women.

"We are just grateful that your towns had the foresight to let all of you come who have worked on this quilt, so that you could be here and see it go on display here," Vaught told the women.

Vaught then introduced Army Brig. Gen. Loree K. Sutton, a long-time supporter of the women's memorial. Sutton is the director of the Defense Center of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.

Sutton saluted the quilters' efforts to honor fallen military women.

"Let us renew our dedication to making their sacrifices count," Sutton said. "We shall always remember."
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Bells Across America in Fayette County

Carolyn Balog and James Waldrop Chapter DAR Regent Betty Harrah

The James Waldrop Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution joined in the Bells Across America Celebration on September 17 as the country celebrated the 221st anniversary of the signing of the US Constitution. Over 2 dozen local citizens, DAR members and SAR members rang bells for two minutes in honor of the signing. A 6 foot long scroll with over 500 names of local citizens who have pledged support of the Constitution over the last month was on display. The Marquis de Lafayette Chapter Sons of the American Revolution provided a musket salute.

The James Waldrop Chapter DAR is chartered in Fayetteville, GA.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, Constitution Week, 2008

Note: Today is the 221st anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution.
A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

Americans are united by the ideals of equal justice, limited government, and the rule of law. On Constitution Day and Citizenship Day and during Constitution Week, we remember the vision and determination of the Framers to build a free society, and we celebrate the historical document they created to achieve that goal.

More than two centuries ago, our Founding Fathers gathered in Philadelphia and produced a charter that would promote justice and preserve the liberty of all our citizens. The Founders established three separate branches of Government with a system of checks and balances among them. Ours is the oldest written constitution in the world, and the American experiment remains the world's best hope for freedom.

The Constitution forged the American creed of liberty and equality and has lifted the lives of countless individuals. Whether they are citizens by birth or by oath, Americans share a great tradition of enjoying liberty protected by a constitutional government of their choosing.

On Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, and during Constitution Week, Americans come together and recognize the blessings bestowed upon our great Nation. On this occasion we celebrate the courage of the Constitution's drafters and recommit ourselves to making the United States a more perfect union.

In recognition of the signing of the Constitution and of Americans who strive to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of citizenship, the Congress, by joint resolution of February 29, 1952 (36 U.S.C. 106, as amended), designated September 17 as "Constitution Day and Citizenship Day," and by joint resolution of August 2, 1956 (36 U.S.C. 108, as amended), requested that the President proclaim the week beginning September 17 and ending September 23 of each year as "Constitution Week."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim September 17, 2008, as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, and September 17 through September 23, 2008, as Constitution Week. I encourage Federal, State, and local officials, as well as leaders of civic, social, and educational organizations, to conduct ceremonies and programs that celebrate our Constitution and reaffirm our rights and responsibilities as citizens of this great Nation.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventeenth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.


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Monday, September 15, 2008

Fayetteville Intermediate School Learns About the Constitution from DAR

The fourth and fifth graders at Fayetteville Intermediate School learned about the Constitution from the James Waldrop Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution in a special Constitution Week program. To conclude the presentation, the children read the Preamble to the Constitution and waited in line to pledge their support to the Constitution, which turns 221 years old on September 17.

Pictured (l-r) are Regent Betty Harrah and Carol Key of Fayetteville.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Treaty of Paris Turns 225 Year Old

Special to the Fayette Front Page

By Susan Sloan
James Waldrop Chapter DAR
Fayetteville, GA

The Treaty of Paris ended the Revolutionary War between Great Britain and the United States, recognized American independence and established borders for the new nation. After the British defeat at Yorktown in Dec 1781, peace talks in Paris began in April 1782 between Richard Oswarld representing Great Britain and the American Peace Commissioners Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, and John Adams. The American negotiators were joined by Henry Laurens two days before the preliminary articles of peace were signed on November 30, 1782.

The Treaty of Paris, formally ending the war, was not signed until September 3, 1783. Benjamin Franklin, John Jay and John Adams signed for the Americans and David Hartley, a member of the British Parliament represented the British Monarch, King George III.

The Continental Congress, which was temporarily situated in Annapolis, Maryland, at the time, ratified the Treaty of Paris on January 14, 1784. There were 10 Articles or Items in the Treaty, only one of which was still in force in 2007. That item was Item 1, which recognized the thirteen colonies as free and sovereign states.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Fayette County Commissioners Proclaim September 17-23 as Constitution Week

The Fayette County Commissioners recently proclaimed September 17-23 as Constitution Week in Fayette County. Commissioner Jack Smith presented the proclamation to the James Waldrop Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution of Fayetteville and thanked the ladies for their commitment to education, promoting patriotism and preserving American history. Enthusiastic clapping of the audience showed citizen support to the Proclamation.

The James Waldrop Chapter reminds Fayette County of the "Bells Across America" ceremony to be held September 17th at the old Fayette County Courthouse lawn at noon. Pictured (l-r) are: Phyllis King, Jeffre Ray, Bonnie Bolin, Susan Sloan, Constitution Week Chairman Ann Eldredge, James Waldrop Chapter DAR Regent Betty Harrah, and Commissioner Jack Smith.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Isakson Statement on Anniversary of Sept. 11 Terror Attacks

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today released the following statement on the seventh anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks:

“Seven years ago terrorists struck the heart and soul of our country. They attacked our families, our friends and our fellow Americans. Those attacks changed this nation. Today, we dedicate a memorial to the victims at the Pentagon, but it’s important for us to pause and remember all of those innocent victims who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.

It’s also essential to show gratitude to our first responders who put their lives on the line to save so many others on that terrible day. Our police, our firefighters our and emergency medical professionals risk their lives every day to keep our communities safe. They are truly America's first line of defense.

“There is no doubt that Sept. 11 was a wake-up call. I’m so proud of our country and especially our men and women in the armed forces. It is imperative now more than ever that we remain diligent and continue our efforts against terrorism to protect our homeland and fight for freedom around the world.”
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Chambliss Honors Those Lost on September 11, 2001

U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, R- Ga., today released the following statement in remembrance of the seventh anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. A Congressional Remembrance Ceremony is scheduled to take place at the U.S. Capitol today.

“As we reflect today on the tragic events that occurred seven years ago, we must honor those we lost and we must stand together as a united front, remembering that our freedom and security should not be taken for granted. Our enemies may plot evil acts against us, but no act of terror will ever crush the American spirit. America has a long and proud history of determination and success that has always prevailed. Since September 11, 2001, we have relied heavily on members of our Armed Services, the National Guard and Reserve, our nation’s first responders and law enforcement personnel. They are true professionals who are dedicated to ensuring that America is safe and secure for future generations. Julianne and I join all Georgians in remembering those who lost their lives in those senseless attacks and those who have perished while defending our freedom. We will continue to pray for their families and loved ones as well as this great country in which we live.”
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September 11th, 2008

The following is an introduction to Parents of War: Surviving the Folded Flag (Casualty Coping & Courage Through the War on Terror) by Deborah Tainish which will be released January 2009. On September 11th we thought it was the perfect story to share. For more information no the book,

In memory of U.S. Navy Electrical Tech 1, Ronald John Hemenway

“Death leaves a wound no one can heal. Love leaves a memory no one can steal.”
Irish Proverb

Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and ensuing wars against radical Islam, many memorials have been created to honor all who have died. As a parent of one who died in battle against terrorists, and as a writer, I feel it my duty to also contribute to the memorials and history of our current times, to assist by leaving behind information and stories related to parents of war, their heroic children, and the heroic journeys trod following the deaths of their children who sacrificed for us all in the defense against radical terrorists.

The citizens of America have been blessed with a country of freedoms built on sacrifices made by selfless men and women of prior generations who brought us into the 21st century feeling safe and secure in our individual personal lives. That is until the morning of September 11, 2001.
On that day, the personal worlds of many families became twisted and torn as hot steel folded and fell at New York’s Twin Towers and at the Pentagon. My friends Shirley and Bob Hemenway were one such family.

Living in Shawnee, Kansas, Shirley was driving her grandson to school that morning. With time to spare before going to work, she stopped at a friend’s home for a brief visit. As she pulled into the driveway, her cell phone rang. On the other end of the line, Shirley’s daughter, Sheri, asked her mother’s whereabouts. After learning that her mother had just parked in the friend’s driveway, Sheri told her that the Pentagon had been attacked. Shirley didn’t understand what her daughter was talking about until she entered her friend’s home and saw the fall of the Twin Towers on television, followed by a picture of the “hit” on the Pentagon. The mother of six was dumbfounded as her cell phone began ringing with one call after the other from her children. That is, all but one. Shirley’s son, U.S. Navy Electrical Tech 1, Ronald John Hemenway was one among the personnel that worked in the western side of the Pentagon, the E-Ring, which was the point of attack.

All Shirley could ask was, “What in the world is going on?”

When her son Paul called, she told him to go to her home and tell his dad, Bob, what was happening. By the time Paul reached his parent’s home, a reporter showed up at the door, at which time Paul told him he had to leave.

By noon Shirley and Paul met at their family’s church to pray with their pastor. All that was known in those early hours of September 11, 2001, was that no American citizen watching television could have ever imagined the horror that had beset our nation. Terrorists had crashed jet airliners at 8:46 and 9:03 a.m. EST against New York’s World Trade Center where the spread of jet fuel, balls of fire and smoke was incomprehensible as our nation began grieving what was to become more than 3000 dead. By 9:37 a.m., American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon and killed one hundred and twenty five Pentagon personnel and all 64 on board the plane.

By 10:03 Flight 93, intended for the White House, was diverted by American heroes on board who had learned of the prior three crashes. Through their efforts and sacrificing them selves, the plane crashed into a field 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

After their prayers at the church, Shirley and her son Paul returned home where the call came in from the Department of Navy. By evening, with the Hemenway family gathered, five Navy personnel arrived and reported that ET1 Ronald John Hemenway was missing.

Ronald had joined the Navy in November, 1994 at the age of thirty. In August, 1994, Ronald, still single, had left his mom a note saying that he was out looking for a job, and would not return home until he had found one that offered a true career. When he returned later that evening, he told his family he had joined the Navy. At first they believed he was kidding.

Ronald’s life had begun on July 25, 1964 in Alaska where his dad worked in telecommunications. The third child, Ronald was a gift after the death of Shirley and Bob’s second son at six months old. Ronald graduated from high school and subsequently attended the University of Alaska in Fairbanks for two years. Shirley describes her son as having been a “braniac” who loved reading, especially encyclopedias. He wasn’t into sports, but he gained a love for horses after taking photographs of them for his college photography class, which led him to attending an equestrian school.

During Ronald’s early twenties, the Hemenway family moved to Shawnee, Kansas due to Bob’s job transfer. In Shawnee, Ronald never found work that he felt would lead him into a life career that he enjoyed. Joining the Navy in 1994 became his answer. Ronald graduated at the top of his class from Electronics School in Great Lakes, Illinois, and was awarded the Distinguished Military Graduate award. With such honors, he was allowed to choose his duty station on the USS La Salle in Gaeta, Italy. He arrived there in May, 1996.

While in Italy, Ronald met the woman that would become his wife, and became father to a son and daughter. By March 2000, Ronald’s request was accepted for assignment to work for the Chief of Navy Operations at the Pentagon.

Shirley and Bob Hemenway had been thrilled that their son and his family were back in the states and closer to them. But 9-11 changed all of that.

After the Hemenways received the visit from Naval personnel telling them their son was missing, a naval casualty assistance communications officer was assigned to assist them with concerns. After spending a week in limbo following the attacks, the Hemenway’s and their daughter-in-law were flown to Crystal City, Virginia. All families of those killed at the Pentagon were living at the Sheraton Hotel awaiting word of the recovery of their loved one’s remains. The Red Cross assisted with lodging and meal costs for the families while they also received support from chaplains, support dogs, and a daily briefing from the General that kept them apprised of developments. After any remains were found, identified, and returned to families, they chose to hold memorials, have burials at Arlington, or return to their homes for funeral services.

As days turned into weeks, and the FBI chose to cease the searching, the Hemenways were one of five families whose loved one’s remains were never recovered. On December 8, 2001, Shirley and Bob received a military death certificate from the Department of the Navy, and two Gold Leaf insignias.

On January 12, 2002, a cold but sunny day in Shawnee, Kansas, a memorial service was held for Ronald at the Hemenway’s church, Hope Lutheran. A ceremony followed at their home with bagpipes and the raising of a flag onto the twenty-five foot flag pole that had been set by Ronald’s brothers on September 12, 2001.

Shirley and Bob have since traversed their journey with support from their church family and TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors of military personnel) headquartered in Washington, D.C. They had made acquaintance with TAPS founder Bonnie Carroll during their stay at the Sheraton in Crystal City while waiting with hope for the recovery of their son’s remains.

After learning that Bonnie was from Alaska and that her husband, Brigadier General Tom Carroll, had been killed in a plane crash, the Hemenways and Bonnie had an immediate connection. Through Bonnie’s sincere care and invitation, Shirley and Bob made their first visit to the TAPS National Military Survivors Seminar in D.C. during Memorial Weekend, May 2002.

As months passed, families across the Unites States were cast into facing the incomprehensible deaths of children and other military family members fighting the subsequent wars against terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq. By 2004, Dave and I had been visited at our home by this uninvited guest of death when our oldest son was killed in battle. Over Memorial Weekend, 2005, Dave and I met Shirley and Bob during our attendance at the TAPS annual survivor’s seminar. The location was at the Doubletree hotel across from the Pentagon, which was fully repaired by September 11, 2002.

Through our meeting, we became bonded parents through terrorism and war. Afterwards, we remained in touch through e-mail and subsequent visits to the annual TAPS event.

Shirley informed me that on September 10th and 11th, 2008, families of those killed in the Pentagon would come together for a special ceremony. Through tears, on 9/11/2008 I watched C-Span’s live coverage of the ceremony and unveiling of the Pentagon Memorial comprised of benches etched with names of each of the those killed in the Pentagon and those on American Airlines flight 77 that will forever provide remembrance to those who died at the hands of wickedness. A memorial that will provide to future generations not yet born an acknowledgement that out of twisted concrete and steel came The Phoenix Project responsible for raising funds and creating this lasting monument as proof of the ability of our nation’s people to rise together from the ashes to never forget the injustice that befell our nation and families on 9/11/2001. Each individual that died that awful day will be memorialized by way of a bench with their name etched into the concrete. The benches will remain placed in rows at the western side of the Pentagon.

Through this book I am able to share journeys of courage and coping by military families across our nation who sent sons and daughters to war, and said final good-byes holding a folded flag. These are also stories of bitter-sweet pride of parents as they share insight into the lives of their warrior children. Children who grew from the little boy or girl next door to men and women who volunteered to defend our nation, and others, against terrorism by serving in the different branches of the United States Military.

For me and all those who contributed to this book, our greatest hope is that our children never be forgotten, that our journeys to get up everyday and find purpose will help others who follow our path, provide inspiration to any reader, and for the people of the United States to be reminded of the sacrifices made to ensure their freedoms.

May our nation never forget that an evil enemy strives to destroy our way of life and cherished freedoms as the terrorists attempted to do on September 11, 2001 when they made such horrendous efforts to crush us by destroying a major financial center, killing the innocent, and leaving raw grief to be endured by families such as the Hemenways.

May our nation never forget that freedom never has, and never will be free, or without the sacrifice of those willing to volunteer service for a cause greater than themselves.

-Deborah H. Tainsh
Gold Star Mom
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Remember 9-11

Sea of flags at the Peachtree City Fire and Rescue Station on N. Peachtree Parkway

On this day, September 11, we all stop and relive the horrifying events of that fateful day in American history.

This morning, our staff noted local governments and citizens remembering the attack on America by flying the flag at half mast.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

September Storm

A terrorist attack on American soil,
Buildings crumbled, thick smoke boiled
So many lives lost, such horrific sights
The tragedy crept on well in to the night
We must come together, all races, hearts and hands
To show ourselves united as our spirit commands
As a new day dawned amidst rubble, smoke and slag
There we saw standing, a flying American flag
We will stand together as a United Nation
And show the world our single determination
We must become one people, let our colors wave
Bury all our lost souls, and honor their graves
We will come together as one, a nation in mourning
And join our leader to extend this heartfelt warning

No matter the horror, however heinous or grave
We are still a great nation, land of the free, home of the brave.

God Bless all those who perished and God help those who caused it!

Jan Herron, Hephzibah, GA

Clayton State Political Science Professor to Give 9/11 Tribute

Clayton State University Assistant Professor of Political Science Dr. Joseph Corrado will host a presentation and discussion about Sept. 11, 2001, "Remembering our Heroes: a 9/11 Tribute" Sept. 11th from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in room 272 on the James M. Baker University Center.

"This is a short presentation on how this atrocity has impacted us nationally and globally," says Corrado, chair of the University's American Democracy Project.

Corrado's presentation and the discussion are free and open to the public.

A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.

Governor Perdue Orders Flags to Half-Staff for Patriot Day

Governor Sonny Perdue today ordered flags at all state buildings and grounds to fly at half-staff until sunset tomorrow in honor of Patriot Day. President Bush and the U.S. Congress have designated Sept. 11 as Patriot Day.

“The seventh anniversary of the attacks against America remind us of a time when our nation came together in the face of tragedy,” Governor Perdue said. “An attack meant to weaken us only served to make us stronger. The courage shown by Americans, from ground zero to every corner of our country, continues to inspire us as we vow to never forget those that lost their lives on that day.”

The following is text of the Executive Order.

Whereas: On September 11, 2001, the citizens of this country were thrust into the throes of terror as we watched two planes crash into the World Trade Center Towers, and one crash into the Pentagon; and

Whereas: We also watched a fourth plane crash into a field in Pennsylvania as a group of passengers bravely gave their lives in an attempt to save others who were targeted by another group of cowardly terrorists; and

Whereas: Our world seemingly stopped turning as we prayed for the helpless individuals whom we knew had perished, the families and friends who lost loved ones, and for those who worked feverishly to save innocent lives; and

Whereas: We must continue to remember in our prayers the heroic men and women of our armed forces who are stationed around the world and remain resolved to protect our country and our people from future terroristic threats; and

Whereas: In an effort to honor the memories of those who lost their lives and to memorialize this sad day in our nation’s history, the United States Congress on December 18, 2001, passed by joint resolution Public Law 107-89, which designates September 11 of each year as “Patriot Day."

Now, therefore, pursuant to the authority vested in me as Governor of the State of Georgia, it is hereby

Ordered: That the State of Georgia recognize September 11, 2008, as “Patriot Day” whereupon I join the President of the United States of America in calling upon all Georgians to display the American Flag at half-staff from their homes and businesses on that day and to observe a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m. eastern daylight time to honor the innocent Americans and people from around the world who lost their lives as a result of terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

It is further

Ordered: That on Patriot Day, September 11, 2008, the American Flag and the Flag of the Great State of Georgia shall be flown on all state buildings and grounds, throughout the State of Georgia, at half-staff until sunset.

This 10th day of September, 2008.


Constitution Day Celebration at University of West Georgia Planned for September 17

The University of West Georgia and the Ingram Library will honor Constitution Day on Wednesday, Sept. 17, with a reception and intriguing dialogue about government, democracy and the Constitution.

The event is free and the community is invited to attend Dr. Robert M. Schaefer, professor and chair of the Department of Political Science and Planning, will lecture on “The American Constitution: A Celebratory Address (with an Admonition)” at 11 a.m. on the main floor of the library.

The presentation will focus on the establishment of American republic and the difficulty of preserving a constitution. Schaefer said the admonition is serious yet not preachy.

“This will be a political oration on behalf of the Constitution,” said Schaefer. “And to talk about the Constitution you have to talk about Rome, Athens and the difficultly of founding a good regime. The Constitution is fundamental to every aspect of our lives and it is important for citizens to give thought about what the Constitution means to this country.”

Constitution Day commemorates Sept. 17, 1787, which is the day the Constitutional Convention delegates signed the document. A federal law passed in 2004 requires all educational institutions that receive federal funds to observe Constitution Day.

Each year, the president issues a proclamation encouraging government officials and educational organizations to celebrate the ratification of the U.S. Constitution and reaffirm the rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship.

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The Fallen are Remembered by Peachtree City Fire Department

Special to the Fayette Front Page

As America pauses to remember the September 11, 2001, attacks this year, Peachtree City Firemen remember.

The Neely Fire Station in Peachtree City has once again honored the memory of the 343 firefighters and 60 police officers who gave their lives on that fateful day in 2001 by placing a flag for each of their fallen brothers in front of Station 82.

A special thank you to all firefighters and policemen, especially those in Fayette County, Georgia, who serve the American citizens everyday.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sandy Creek Senior Caitlin Dillon Leads the Way in 2nd Annual Freedom Walk

PP Note: The efforts and passion of this Sandy Creek High School Senior are encouraging. Thank you Caitlin Dillon for sharing your passion for our patriots with our citizens of Fayette County!

By Brenda Smith

Special to the Fayette Front Page

Photo on left: Organizer Caitlin Dillon proudly leads local citizens who walked in the Freedom Walk.

Take a rising senior with passion and a vision, and the next thing you know there is an America Supports You Freedom Walk in Peachtree City on September 6th.

In an effort to remember the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and to rejuvenate the spirit of American patriotism that immediately followed those attacks, parades were organized around the country. Caitlin teamed with Randy Gaddo, advisor and planner of Patriot Day, and they combined their two groups into one parade with one consistent theme - remember 9/11.

Approximately 130 people, including a group of World War II veterans, walked and/or rode in the parade which ended at the Commemorative Air Force hangar at Falcon Field for a Patriot Day Program. Awaiting the parade participants were over 200 supporters of the combined events, the band from Bennett's Mill Middle School, the Peachtree City Wind Ensemble and Music Alive. The featured speaker was Mrs. Rae Pressley-King, principal of Bennett's Mill Middle School who was a child of a military family and was herself a former Army helicopter pilot.

Actually, this is the 2nd walk that Caitlin has organized and she even plans to continue with preparations for a 3rd one while she prepares for college next summer.

For efforts, Caitlin received the National Patriotism Award from the National Museum of Patriotism which is located in Atlanta.

Congratulations to everyone who participated in or supported this worthwhile event and made it a success.

Veterans of the Greatest Generation are assisted by local youth in carrying the banner.

Photo credits: Brenda Smith

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Monday, September 8, 2008

Thousands Take Part in National America Supports You Freedom Walk

An assembly of thousands gathered this morning at the entrance of Arlington National Cemetery, the starting point of the fourth annual National America Supports You Freedom Walk.

Ending at the Pentagon, where a hijacked airplane killed 184 people when it barreled into the building on Sept. 11, 2001, the Freedom Walk in the nation's capital is one of 330 similar processions around the world that will take place in all 50 states and 12 foreign countries.

Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon R. England told the crowd today's walk not only commemorates the attacks on America that occurred seven years ago this week, but also represents a day for Americans to commit themselves to the preservation of freedom.

"That day we lost 3,000 people of 60 nationalities," England said. "I've concluded that we lost 3,000 people that day because the terrorists did not know how to kill 30,000 or 300,000 or 3 million, but they would have if they could have, and they are still [trying].

"We wake up as a free people every morning, and that's not by accident, and that's not by chance," he continued. "We wake up free every morning because great Americans put who put on the uniform of our country for 230 some years have gone forward to protect and defend those freedoms."

England thanked servicemembers who protect and defend American liberty, and praised the sacrifices made by their families.

"We have, as a nation, an amazing debt of gratitude to all these people who have given their lives for these many years for our freedoms and for the freedoms of future generations," he said, drawing applause.

In addition to the Freedom Walk, today represents the beginning of a week of commemorative events, including the dedication of the Pentagon Memorial -- a two-acre park near the point of impact with an illuminated bench and lighted reflecting pool dedicated to each victim -- that will take place on the seventh anniversary of the attack.

Following the opening remarks, columns of walkers wearing Freedom Walk tee shirts headed south, skirting the Potomac River on the opposite bank of American icons like the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument, en route to the Defense Department headquarters.

America Supports You, a Defense Department program that connects citizens and corporations with military personnel and their families, hosted the event, which attracted a reported 10,000 participants, according to Pentagon Channel figures.

The one-mile walk culminated in the south parking lot of the Pentagon, where Marine General James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, addressed the crowd from a raised stage.

Cartwright thanked those who participated in the event, which included walkers representing many states across the country, homefront groups manning kiosks in the Pentagon lot and country music performers the Oak Ridge Boys.

"And then a word to those who are not here for all the reasons that there are: deployed forward, sacrifices," he said. "All of the things that they do, whether they're in uniform or civilian, to support this nation and serve us so that we can get up every day free."

Cartwright, citing those around the world participating in Freedom Walks, expressed awe at the evolution of the event.

"When you think that this started four years ago, and now we're up to 330 of these types of events in which we acknowledge, and America acknowledges, service to this nation: that's a pretty big thing," he said.
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Honor Flight Fayette Walks to Support American Freedoms

Honor Flight Fayette World War II veterans, board members, supporters and other veterans made the 1 mile walk/ride on Saturday, September 6th, in rememberance of the tragic events of September 11, 2001 and to renew the spirit of American patriotism that immediately followed those attacks.

A program was held in the Commemorative Air Force Hangar at Falcon Field where the World War II veterans were recognized as the Greatest Generation and received a standing ovation. The 2nd Washington, D.C. trip for Honor Flight Fayette will take place October 8th with approximately 70 veterans taking the one day trip which is free of charge to them.

Honor Flight Fayette is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, staffed solely by volunteers, whose sole purpose is to raise funds to take the veterans to see their Memorial and receive recognition for their bravery and sacrifices. For more information about Honor Flight Fayette, or to make a donation, visit or call 770-719-1024.

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Patriotism: What Degree Are You?

By Randy Gaddo

On this, the seventh year after the unprecedented terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, I have cause to ponder what the letter and intent of the word Patriotism really means to people.

The reason I ponder this is that on Sept. 6th a diverse group of organizations and individuals put forth significant effort to hold a Patriot Day event at Falcon Field in Peachtree City. Patriot Day was declared by Presidential Proclamation since 2002 as a day to remember the lives lost on Sept. 11th, 2001 and to re-ignite the passionate unity and Patriotism that Americans felt in the immediate aftermath. It is also an opportunity to acknowledge and thank those who physically defend the country.

In this city of 35,000, about 400 were in attendance. That’s about 1 percent of the population. It is interesting and, perhaps, meaningful that in American history, about 1 per cent of the population has served in the military expect during times of war, when that percentage was somewhat higher.

The Patriot Day event had been well publicized in local media, on web sites, via email distribution lists and by other means. There was a 2nd Annual Freedom Walk held in conjunction with the event and about 150 people walked in that – more than last year, but still not the quantity anticipated.

Many people put in a lot of time planning and preparing for this event. A senior at Sandy Creek High School organized the Freedom Walk. Three music groups prepared selections, including a middle school band that had to prepare in the rush of a new school year. Middle and high school young men and women practiced to perform honors to the flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. The Dixie Wing of the Commemorative Air Force detail cleaned their hangar to be site of the event. A dedicated guest speaker brought a rare and insightful message to those fortunate enough to hear her.

But her message should have been heard by thousands of citizens, not just a few hundred. Why, on an occasion where American Patriotism should be ringing forth like the Liberty Bell once did, why were there only a handful of citizens on hand to hear?

Patriotism is one of those ethereal terms that can mean many things to many people. Generally, it applies to love and devotion to one’s country.

The concept of Patriotism isn’t generally applied to any other physical entity other than one’s country. You aren’t “patriotic” about your family, though you are loving and devoted to it. School children aren’t “patriotic” about their school, though they can support it. So we’re talking about love and devotion to one’s country.

Let’s face it, most countries couldn’t exist without Patriotism, which is normally driven by common goals and/or beliefs. How could a country survive the many challenges it faces if not for a common love and devotion that is in the heart of every citizen?

Patriotism can have many degrees of intensity. I submit that the ultimate degree of Patriotism is a willingness to sacrifice the warmth and safety of one’s own home fires to deploy abroad prepared to fight and die for one’s country. Perhaps an even higher degree is to promote the peaceful and free principals that your country stands for and help another country achieve them at the risk of your own life.

The minimum degree of Patriotic intensity would be supporting those who are prepared to engage in the highest degree. I think one means of showing support would be to attend local events held to celebrate Patriotism.

Based on turnout here, about 1 percent of the citizens care enough to carve out a couple of hours a year to celebrate Patriotism at the lowest degree. Again, an interesting parallel; only about 1 percent care enough to volunteer their lives to serve at the highest degree of Patriotism. I wonder about the other 98 percent.

Children often learn from their parents’ example. Leaders often set the example for their followers. If parents and leaders don’t set the example of Patriotic expression for our youth and followers, who will?

There’s an adage that asks: If a tree falls in the woods and there is no one there to hear, does it still make a sound? I think a similar adage could be coined for Patriotism: If Patriotism lives but there are only a few there to hear it, does it live at all?

I think every American needs to look into his or her own heart and ask: “In what degree of Patriotism am I living?”
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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Fayette County Citizens Have Opportunity to Pledge Support to the Constitution

Pictured is Stephen McMinn who was one of the first Fayette County citizens to pledge his support.

Drop by the Fayette County Public Library in Fayetteville and pledge your support to the U. S. Constitution in honor of the 221st anniversary of the signing of the U. S. Constitution.

The exhibit runs through the end of September and is sponsored by the James Waldrop Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution. The James Waldrop Chapter,chartered in 2007 as the first Fayetteville chapter of the DAR, received a 2007 national award for their efforts in educating the public about the Constitution.

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Opinion: The U.S. Constitution and Georgia Men

"Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster, and what has happened once in 6000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world."
- Daniel Webster

As the United States of America gets ready to honor the 221st anniversary of the framing of the US Constitution, we, as Americans, should make it our goal to learn more about this legendary document. As children, our teachers taught us the basics of where the Constitution was written and who signed it from each state. We also learned about the Bill of Rights and the amendments.

Now, as adults, we start to realize the importance of this document in our lives. It provides the basis of the freedoms we enjoy. The freedom of speech, the freedom to worship, the right to bear arms, the right to vote are just a few of the many privileges we enjoy in America.

Who were the men who framed the Constitution? Who were the men who represented Georgia? How many men were elected to represent Georgia?

William Few (1748-1828) and Abraham Baldwin (1754-1807) are the two men of the state of Georgia who signed the Constitution in 1787. Did you know that a total of six Georgia men were appointed to attend the convention? Two of men did not attend and two others, William Leigh Pierce and William Houston, were not there for the majority of the debates.

Both Pierce and Houston were Georgia natives. Pierce made his home in Savannah and was a member of the Georgia House of Representatives. Pierce did participate in several debates on key points. He favored strengthening of the federal government as long as the states still retained some power. Pierce left the convention early as his business in Savannah suffered, and eventually went bankrupt. He died shortly after in 1789.

Born in Savannah, Houston enjoyed a childhood of privilege. His father was highly involved in the royal government of Georgia. He returned home to Georgia from his schooling in England when the Revolutionary War began. He is known for his belief in colonists' rights, and is one of the original trustees of the University of Georgia. Houston died in 1813.

The 55 men who attended the convention had much to say. These delegates, or deputies, were appointed by the legislatures of the 13 states. Some of the deputies left early as Pierce and Houston did. Others who were appointed to attend did not. Why? Was it not convenient? Was it a sense of not comprehending the importance of revising the Articles of Confederation? Was it a shirk of their duty? We don't know the answers. What we do know is the masterpiece document that these men framed.

The words of Benjamin Franklin, in a speech delivered to the convention in late June 1787, provide a glimpse for us: "....In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution, with all its faults, — if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of government but what may be a blessing to the people, if well administered; and I believe, farther, that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other."

Could the framers have imagined the longevity of our Constitution?

Celebrate, American citizens. Read the Constitution. Honor the Constitution. Protect the Constitution.

Ann Eldredge

Editor's Note: National Constitution Week is rapidly approaching. Kudos to the organizations who strive to increase our awareness of the Constitution, and a special kudos to the James Waldrop Chapter DAR of Fayetteville and Fayette County, whose endeavors with regards to educating the school children and adults has become well known and honored beyond our area. Take a few moments and view the videos released last year.

Part 1 Constitution Week Video
Part 2 Constitution Week Video
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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Fayetteville Proclaims September 17-23 as Constitution Week

Pictured (l-r) are Linda Robinson, Ann Eldredge and Mayor Ken Steele.

The City of Fayetteville proclaimed September 17-23 as Constitution Week at a recent City Council Meeting. Ann Eldredge, Constitution Week Chairman of the James Waldrop Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, commented that this year Americans celebrate the 221st anniversary of the signing of the U. S. Constitution. The James Waldrop Chapter DAR and the City of Fayetteville urge all citizens to reaffirm the ideals of the Constitution and to vigilantly protect the freedoms guaranteed to us through this guardian of our liberties, remembering that lost rights may never be regained.

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"Celebrating the Constitution" at the National Archives in Morrow

Article III, Section 3 of the United States Constitution

In September, 1865 the United States Circuit Court of Western Tennessee in Memphis issued a writ of Habeas Corpus charging Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest with treason.

The National Archives-Southeast Region will celebrate the anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution on Wednesday, September 17, 2008, from 10:00-11:00 A.M. with an exciting program featuring readings, speeches, and a special document exhibit. "James Madison" (Former President and Founding Father as well as the Father of the Constitution) will join the National Archives staff in welcoming the public to this free event.

The National Archives, our nation's recordkeeper, is the official custodian of the original Constitution which is on permanent display in the Rotunda of the National Archives Building, located on Constitution Avenue between 7th and 9th Streets, NW, Washington, D.C.

The ceremony in the Southeast Region celebrates the world's oldest written national constitution still in effect. The completed document was accepted by the Constitutional Convention on September 15, 1787, and the final draft was signed on September 17, 1787, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This date marks a milestone in our history.

Dr. Jamil S. Zainaldin, President of the Georgia Humanities Council will be the special guest speaker for the ceremony at the National Archives-Southeast Region. Zainaldin holds the BA in history from the University of Virginia and the PhD in history from the University of Chicago. He is a frequent writer and speaker on the importance of history, literature, ethics, and civic values.

After the formal program, guests are invited to view a display of original documents reflecting specific sections of the Constitution. Documents related to the indictments of Aaron Burr and Nathan Bedford Forrest for treason, filings in Federal court cases related to freedom of speech and the press, and numerous documents from the modern Civil Rights Movement related to the 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution will be on display.

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Salute the Troops on ABC September 7

(BUSINESS WIRE)--A diverse cross-section of America’s most popular performers and entertainers – including Toby Keith, Janet Jackson, ZZ Top, Jessica Simpson, Snoop Dogg and others – are coming together on the same stage for one night only at an all-star salute to the nation’s military men and women.

USAA, a diversified financial services firm, is honored to present America United In Support of Our Troops, airing on ABC Sunday, September 7, at 9 p.m. Eastern/8 p.m. Central.

Other performers and celebrities slated to appear include country musician Clint Black, comedians Carlos Mencia and Kathy Griffin, and many more. Filmed in front of audiences in Iraq, Camp Pendleton, Calif., and Fort Campbell, Ky., the show features popular music, celebrity cameos, tributes to the troops, and heart-warming stories.

“America United in Support of Our Troops - is all about standing together as a nation to say a very heartfelt ‘thank you’ to the men and women of the U.S. military,” said USAA President and CEO Joe Robles. “USAA has proudly served our nation’s military families for 86 years, and it is our honor to sponsor this tribute. We hope Americans will tune in this Sunday, support our troops and enjoy this terrific show.”

The show will be re-broadcast Monday, Sept. 8 for military members serving overseas and on ships at sea through the American Forces Radio and Television Service.


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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fayetteville DAR Goes to Washington, Receives Awards

Pictured in DC (l-r) are: Pat Reeve and Regent Betty Harrah of Fayetteville.

Several members of the James Waldrop Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution recently journeyed to the National Society DAR 117th Continental Congress in Washington, DC. While in DC, the chapter was honored for "Constitution Week 2007- Outstanding Chapter Report." In addition, the chapter was also recognized among the highest level of the chapters nationwide for Chapter Achievement and in the 2nd tier for American Spirit DAR Magazine.

The DAR is the world's largest women's service organization with over 170,000 current members. Members of the James Waldrop Chapter DAR work tirelessly to promote education, preserve American history and to promote patriotism. For more information on the upcoming programs, visit

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Monday, September 1, 2008

Andersonville National Historic Site, Rolling Thunder Chapters from 11 States, Georgia Southwestern State University to Honor Nation's POWs/MIAs, Sept

PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Rolling Thunder's 2008 Ride Home -- a multi-day annual activity held in conjunction with the National Park Service's Andersonville National Historic Site and Georgia Southwestern State University to recognize and honor the nation's Prisoners of War (POW) and those Missing in Action (MIA) -- will be held in Andersonville and Americus, Ga., Sept. 17-20, 2008.

"The 2008 Ride Home, which is supported this year by Rolling Thunder(R) chapters from 11 states, is part of a series of events conducted jointly with the National Park Service in Andersonville to honor those former POWs from all wars who have returned home and remember those who are still listed as MIA," said Jim Moyer, Ride Home board chairman.

According to Moyer, more than 1,000 Rolling Thunder members are expected to gather in Andersonville and Americus to honor an estimated 100 former POWs scheduled to attend this year's program of events as guests of Rolling Thunder.

While Friday, Sept. 19, is the official National POW/MIA Recognition Day, the four days of recognition activities begin at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17, with a convocation sponsored by the National Park Service and hosted by Georgia Southwestern State University at the Student Success Center in Americus.

The guest speaker will be Joseph Hudson of Alamogordo, N.M. He was a 23-year-old U.S. Army specialist with the 507th Maintenance Group, Fort Bliss, Tex., who was shot three times, captured and held by Saddam Hussein's Iraqi Army from March 23, 2003 until April 13, 2003.

On Thursday, Sept. 18, through Saturday, Sept. 20, the Park Service will host Bataan Death March survivor Colonel Glenn Frazier at the National Prisoner of War Museum at the Andersonville National Historic Site. Frazier, who was an underage U.S. Army volunteer from Fort Deposit, Ala., in 1941, will be autographing his book, "Hell's Guest," which is his account of three harrowing years as a prisoner of war.

On Friday, Sept. 19, the official National POW/MIA Recognition Day, Rolling Thunder's formal activities will begin at 10 a.m. with a tribute service, "Keeping the Promise, We Will Not Forget" at the First Baptist Church in Americus.

Scheduled speakers include: U.S. Air Force Major General Albert G. (Jerry) Rodgers whose final active duty assignment was Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics at Tactical Air Command Headquarters at Langley, AFB, Va.; U.S. Navy Captain Ronald Harrell, Commander of the FFG (Fast Frigate) Class Squadron 14 at Naval Station Mayport, Fla.; Stephen E. Thompson, Family and Veteran Liaison for the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in Honolulu, Hawaii; and, Dr./Rev. Chuck Gass, the staff chaplain at the VA Medical Center in Gainesville, Fla.

A Rolling Thunder escort to the tribute service for the former POWs is scheduled to depart for the Baptist church from the Wal-Mart parking lot in Americus at 9 a.m.

At 1 p.m. that afternoon the National Prisoner of War Museum in Andersonville will unveil a commemorative plaque honoring POWs from the U.S. Army's 42nd "Rainbow" Division.

Formed in August 1917, the "Rainbow" nickname was given to the division after Colonel Douglas MacArthur, the new division's Chief of Staff (and ultimately its commander), remarked that "the 42nd Division stretches like a Rainbow from one end of America to the other" because it was comprised of National Guard units from 26 states and the District of Columbia.

The division, which saw service in both World Wars, was deactivated in 1946; however it returned in 1947 as a National Guard Division for New York, the state of its birth. Currently headquartered at the Glenmore Armory in Troy, N.Y., the division includes Army National Guard units from 14 states: Connecticut, Main, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont and Wisconsin.

Activities on Friday will continue at 4:30 p.m. with Rolling Thunder's annual tribute dinner followed by a candlelight remembrance ceremony scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Both activities will be at the Windsor Hotel in Americus.

The Missing Man Table, which honors the nation's POW/MIAs, will be the focal point of the evening. The single round table with six empty place settings symbolize Americans from each of the five services -- Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard -- and civilians who cannot attend and will be participating in the evening's activities in spirit only.

On Saturday, Sept. 20, Rolling Thunder's Annual POW Recognition will begin at 10 a.m. at the Rostrum at Andersonville National Cemetery. The ceremony honors POWs who have returned home from World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf wars.

A Rolling Thunder Heroes Escort Ride is scheduled to depart for the Andersonville National Historic Site from the Wal-Mart parking lot in Americus at 9 a.m.

The 1-14th Aviation Regiment from Fort Rucker, Ala., will open the 10 a.m. ceremony with a helicopter flyover of an AH-64D Apache Longbow and an OH-58D Kiowa Warrior.

A Roll Call of former POWs attending the ceremony will precede a special presentation to each.

Music will be provided by the U.S. Marine Band stationed at the Albany Marine Corps Logistics Base, SSgt Kristine Streng conducting.