GEORGIA NATIONAL CEMETERY, Canton, Georgia, December 12, 2015 – Elements of the Georgia State Defense Force (GSDF) were recently activated to support a nationwide event meant to honor and remember America’s veterans. The event, known as National Wreaths Across America Day, was held at the Georgia National Cemetery in Cherokee County. The ceremony was one of 700 such events which took place in national veterans cemeteries in all 50 states, and in 24 American cemeteries in foreign countries.
Members of the GSDF 1st Brigade were on hand to provide traffic control and crowd management in the cemetery. Arriving before sunrise on a foggy Saturday morning, the members of 1st Brigade established a Tactical Operations Center (TOC) near the cemetery’s Public Information Center. From the TOC, GSDF personnel were able to coordinate with event organizers as well as staff from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure that the event proceeded smoothly. Soldiers from 1st Brigade were assigned to pre-determined stations throughout the cemetery for the duration of the event. In attendance for the ceremony was Maj. Gen. William F. Duffy, U.S. Army Reserve Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff (G-2 Individual Mobilization Augmentee). After visiting with members of 1st Brigade and receiving a tour of the TOC, Maj. Gen. Duffy exclaimed, “you’re all doing a great job!”
The GSDF Soldiers participating in the event were motivated to be there for different reasons. For example, Cpl. Robert Williams of 1st Brigade said, “I want to honor the fallen, particularly during the holiday season when they are especially missed by their families.” A resident of Ellenwood, Georgia, Cpl. Williams was participating in his third National Wreaths Across America Day. While overseeing a busy traffic control point near the cemetery’s columbaria (a structure for above-grade interment), Cpl. Williams remarked, “If a member of my family were here today, I would want them to be treated with the same respect and courtesy as I show these visitors.” Such sentiments are common amongst the GSDF. Service to others is a commitment shown by members of the GSDF, not only during the holidays, but throughout the year.