Gilmer Honors Veteran’s Day today

Community, News
Veteran's Day

At the 11th hour today, on this 11th day of this 11th month, a tradition continued for many citizens, a tradition of honor and recognition. This Veteran’s Day celebrates those veterans who have served in our armed forces.

Veteran's Day

Members of the 507th Civil Air patrol post the colors for the Veteran’s Day Ceremony on November 11, 2021.

Keeping the tradition of the signing of the armistice of World War I, the recognition in Ellijay began at 11 a.m., the eleventh hour. And today saw smiles and laughter, hugs amongst friends and family, and the honoring of our soldiers. It came from both loved ones and strangers. It came in the musical celebrations and the solemn prayers. It came in the casual handshakes and thanks and the rigid codes and regulations.

As a community, many traditions were honored at the Veteran’s Day gathering at the Ellijay Lion’s Club Fairgrounds. Traditions like the GHS Band playing “Salute to the Armed Forces” and singing “God Bless the USA.” There were newer additions like the PGBC Trio under direction of Doug Lee.

Veteran's Day

The award winning Gilmer High School Band performs the “Salute to the Armed Services” to honor veterans on November 11, 2021.

Most of the morning was saturated in familiar songs patriotically honoring the country and its defenders. Jeannette Kelly sang our National Anthem, Scott Eaton sang “God Bless the USA,” and the EES Chorus under direction of Katie Mayfield and GHS Chorus under direction of Hannah Carter sang together and each on their own.

A celebration as a community, incorporating veterans and civilians, students and adults, and young and older, becomes more meaningful. Watching members of the 507th Civil Air Patrol post the colors and deliver the memorial wreath beneath the American Flag instills pride as they work to make their moves precise, giving reverence to the soldiers who have done it before them.

Veteran's Day

George McClellan plays Amazing Grace on bagpipes during the Veteran’s Day Celebration at the Gilmer Lion’s Club Fairgrounds.

Listening to bagpipes play Amazing Grace is an amazing sound, but speaking with the man playing them, George McClellan, you gain insight on just how hard it is to play and handle the instrument. Couple this with his formal uniform, complete with kilt and sporran, and it gives a small glimpse into the dedication that men and women give to this celebration.

Incorporating the entirety of the community not only shows our thanks but teaches future generations how important this day is to us. It may seem convenient to award the poster and essay winners from the schools during this ceremony, but it may be the day to show support for these students, especially in the higher grades. Some of these students are now considering and talking with recruiters about joining the military themselves.

Veteran's Day

Marie Wych and SMSgt Sam Burrell, Retired USAF, pose with winners of the Poster contests and the Essay contests. Pictured from left to right on back row, Marie Wych, 12th Grade Essay Winner Reagan Boling, 11th Grade Essay Winner Sawyer Wishon, 10th Grade Essay Winner Lucy Ray, 9th Grade Essay Winner Tony Gonzalez, and SMSgt Sam Burrell.
Pictured from left to right on front row, 5th Grade Poster Winner Mattelyn Jones and 3rd Grade Poster Winner Olivia Steingruber.
Not Pictured, 8th Grade Essay Winner Tabitha Hunter, 7th Grade Essay Winner Bayleigh Jasinski, 6th Grade Essay Winner Payton Headricks, and 4th Grade Poster Winner Lissette Garcia.

Mayor asked to return key to City Hall

City Council, Featured News, Featured Stories

Blue Ridge, Ga. – Mayor Donna Whitener was asked to turn in her key to City Hall as council members expressed their concerns over the upcoming election.

“With all that has been going on over the past couple of months, which the public is just now starting to find out about, to be very honest, I don’t know that I feel comfortable with the election that is coming up and not having an unbiased party being over the election,” Council Member Nathan Fitts expressed his feelings on the upcoming election.

Blue Ridge, Georgia, Fannin County, Election, 2021, Qualifying, November, City Council, Post 1, Harold Herdon, Post 2, Rhonda Haight, Post 3, Mike Panter, Post 4, Robbie Cornelius, Post 5, Nathan Fitts, Mayor, Donna Whitener

Haight requests that Whitener return her key to City Hall during the election period.

Council Member Rhonda Thomas and Fitts both agreed that having outside municipal counsel handle any election related events would be in the best interest of not only the candidates but the City as well.

This proposition comes with the consideration that current City Attorney James Balli is hired to represent City Council members, many of whom will be running in the upcoming election, and therefore might have a biased conflict of interest in any election related matters.

Haight suggested approaching the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) attorneys and getting their legal opinion on the matter.

Fitts agreed with Haight’s recommendation stating, “I know too much. I know the history of the last election. I know things that went on and I do not feel comfortable with it.”

With the request for an outside legal counsel, Haight also requested that the Mayor return her key to City Hall during the election period.

“None of us have keys except for the Mayor and I don’t feel like she should have a key to this building during that election time,” Haight said adding that she doesn’t want any possibility of wrongdoing to occur and jeopardize the election process.

“I have no problem with that,” Mayor Whitener responded to Haight’s request but did point out that there have been emergency occasions when she (Whitener) has had to access the building.

One thing that all council members and mayor did agree upon was to look into third party handling of future elections.

Fitts pointed out that the staff of City Hall, who currently handle city elections, is “put in the middle of way more than they should be”.

While some council members felt it was too late to seek outside handling of the 2021 City Election, they did agree to pursue this route in the future.

The General Election is set to take place on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021 with voting at City Hall. Polls open at 7 a.m. and will close at 7 p.m.

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