City, County honor Veterans in patriotic ceremony

Nov. 15—On Friday, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Allen-Cook Post 4995 celebrated Veteran's Day and honored local veterans with a ceremony at the historic Thomasville courthouse.

Welcoming the crowd, Gregory Thweatt, the commander of Post 4995, began with harkening back to the words of the national anthem of the United States of America.

"When Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner almost 200 years ago, he called America 'the land of the free and the home of the brave.' Those words are as true today as they were then," he said. "Throughout this nation's history, America's soldiers, sailors, airmen, marine corps, coastguards and spaceforce have bravely answered the call to defend our freedom, to aid our friends and allies, and to turn back aggressors."

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And so, he said, while the American people never fully repay the debt of gratitude they owe to the brave men and women, that recognizing their efforts is a good first step forward.

"We can never fully repay our debt of gratitude to the more than 650,000 American service members who died in battle or the 1.4 million who were wounded," he said. "We can, however, recognize and thank the 25 million veterans still living today."

The Thomas County Central Army JROTC presented the colors during the ceremony, before Brice Hopper, of the Thomas County Central Key Club, spoke about honoring veterans, reading off excerpts from essays written by the students of Thomas County Central.

"As high school students, it is our responsibility to maintain good grades, participate in extracurriculars, create relationships, work jobs, and generally learn what life is about. With all these different responsibilities, it may appear that some values have taken a back burner in our lives," Hopper said. "However, we are here today to reassure you that we, as a generation, not only value and respect all of the sacrifices that you have made, we also recognize that our most important responsibility, as the next generation of Americans, is to uphold, honor and preserve the legacy of our ancestors."


Following Hopper, the Thomasville High Air Force JROTC lead the flag folding ceremony.

Afterward, Angela Kiminas, executive director of Hands on Thomas County, and Rich Curtis, director of the Thomas University Art Department, unveiled the unserviceable flag container that Curtis' students designed and painted with his aid.

Kiminas followed suit with discussing Judy's Heroes Christmas Packages alongside Brandy Kirkham, daughter of the late Judy Davis and founder of Judy's Heroes, and the ways that those in attendance could aid in assisting in the preparation and mailing of care packages to past and currently active service members.

"We're encouraging members of the community, like you," Kiminas said to the crowd, "to donate items, join us at Post 4995 to help pack and mail these care packages and, most importantly, now we're at the edge of November, to help us identify and collect basic contact information for both past and current service members."


Thweatt opened the floor for attendees to speak, with Mayor Jay Flowers and local veterans thanking the efforts of the community, before children from Cross Creek Elementary made a surprise entrance, carrying handmade signs that thanked the veterans in attendance for their bravery and service.

"Today, it is our privilege to say 'thank you' to all of America's veterans, to let them know that we appreciate them for their service and honor them for their sacrifices," Thweatt ended.

More information regarding Hands on Thomas County and ways to assist with Judy's Heroes Christmas Packages can be found at