One of these is the collection and display of photos of local veterans who served in all branches of service. This year, 285 pictures will be displayed through November in SunTrust Bank, located on Elm Street.
Cathy Holtzclaw began collecting the photos in 2003 after viewing a blank wall in the old Rockmart Municipal Building.
“I kept thinking it would be great to have photos of our veterans displayed in that space,” she said.
Thereafter, she began seeking pictures of local veterans. She would not only ask relatives of these men and women, but also talk with the individual who had served.
The first display contained only a few pictures. As time passed, Cathy kept seeking and displaying the collection that has continued to grow.
“This is my way to say ‘thank you’ to those who have secured our freedoms,” she said. “We should remember our veterans – not just one day – but throughout the year.”
The 2012 display fills a portion of the bank’s main lobby and the public is invited to view them.
Visitors will find names of Rockmart people who served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf (Iraq).
Mayor Steve Smith, who visited the display, said many of these veterans returned home and became productive citizens. Others did not.
This fact was noted in a message placed with a group of photos:
“Some fought and came home. Some fought and are still missing. Some fought and were killed in action . . . became prisoners of war, disabled for life. . . are still fighting in a foreign land. View each photo with respect for you know not their story.”
Letters are also displayed. An example was from a young man who sent a message home.
He described the horrors of battle and his wish to return to the green hills and rolling landscape of Georgia.
“Many of these men (and women) do not wish to talk about their war experiences,” Cathy said. “Some (Vietnam) have returned to America to be scorned. Let us remember their courage and never forget their sacrifice.”
Mayor Smith said the City would also place American flags in honor of those who served. On Veterans Day, these can be seen on Elm Street, Piedmont Avenue and along the median of U.S. Highway 278 (Nathan Dean Parkway).
Previously, flags were placed along the highway and down Goodyear Avenue as part of a community project that involved a number of local citizens.
Pride in your hometown is a wonderful thing to see, according to Stacey Smith, director, Community Development, Rockmart.
“It is such a blessing the way the community can come together to make things happen,” she said.