CLAY NATIONAL GUARD CENTER, Marietta, Georgia, May 19, 2016 – Georgia State Defense Force (GSDF) Soldiers recently joined members of the Georgia Department of Defense, dignitaries, family, friends, and other attendees for a Memorial Day Observance honoring the fallen. The ceremony was held at the Freedom Calls Memorial, adjacent to the Georgia National Guard Joint Forces Headquarters. Dedicated in 2014, the Memorial Wall honors 42 members of the Georgia National Guard who have lost their lives in service to their country since the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001.
“We gather to honor all who have died for our country, and specifically, those who served in the units represented by those in uniform among us, and whose names are engraved on this memorial,” said Brig. Gen. Jarrard, the Adjutant General of the Georgia Department of Defense.
Also in attendance was Sen. Judson Hill of the Georgia legislature, who recently was commissioned in the GSDF as a staff judge advocate. Along with Brig. Gen. Jarrard, other members of the ceremony’s official party included Command Sgt. Maj. Stringfield, State Command Sergeant Major of the Georgia Army National Guard, and Command Sgt. Maj. Nelson Jr. (Retired), president of the Freedom Calls Memorial Foundation.
Describing the memorial as a place of reflection and remembrance, Command Sgt. Maj. Nelson Jr. (Retired) shared highlights of the foundation’s future. Plans include those for educational scholarships designated for family members of the fallen.
Brig. Gen. Jarrard commended Command Sgt. Maj. Nelson Jr. (Retired) and Command Sgt. Maj. Stringfield for their dedication. He also thanked many others for their support, before concluding his address with a clarion call.
“The poet, Wallace Bruce, wrote: ‘Who kept the faith and fought the fight, the glory theirs, the duty ours,’” Brig. Gen Jarrard said. “So, let us continue to remember those who sacrificed all for the freedoms our great nation provides, while shouldering the responsibility—the responsibility, each of us to bear—to perpetuate that freedom for future generations.”