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3-11-04 Veterans, Oconee County & Vinnie Williams

One of my regrets about public service is that we did not go ahead and put a Gazebo or Fountain on the Courthouse grounds.  Most Counties have done that and we considered it.  However, many including Vinnie Williams, did not want a gazebo.

AVOC Article

 

March 7, 2004

 

Veterans, Oconee County & Vinnie Williams

 

Veterans Deserve Recognition and Appreciation

 

By Wendell Dawson, AVOC Editor    Another Voice Oconee County

 

Veterans of the United States Armed Services deserve all of the recognition and appreciation that citizens can bestow on them.   We strove hard to start a tradition in Oconee County.   We had annual Veterans ceremonies on Memorial Day and other occasions.  Even Vinnie Williams agreed with the idea of recognizing veterans.   Her paper decided to be the sponsor of the Watkinsville Christmas Parade which is also a good thing and took a lesser role in the Veteran parades.

 

On July 4, 1993, the Chamber worked with us to have a special July 4, 1993, ceremony in front of the courthouse.  It was well attended.  On other occasions, we had the ceremony at various churches and cemeteries.   The events were well attended by veterans and their families.  Many WW II veterans were still living and were recognized.

 

We had a Veterans Advisory Committee to work on a memorial.  However, they could not agree on the type or location.   One of my regrets about public service is that we did not go ahead and put a Gazebo or Fountain on the Courthouse grounds.  Most Counties have done that and we considered it.  However, many including Vinnie Williams, did not want a gazebo.

 

Carolyn Pritchett enjoyed planning and conducting parades and helped get some started.  She was mostly interested in the WW II veterans.  There are many other veterans in Oconee County.  There were tears in the eyes of Vietnam Vets and parents of Desert Storm Vets at the July 4, 1993, ceremony in front of the courthouse.   Most of them had returned to Anti-War Demonstrations and public ridicule from the likes of Jane Fonda et al.

 

Since I left office, the Republican Party took on the Veterans Memorial as “a cause”.  That effort got media publicity and wound up being incorporated into the futuristic “new park” on GA Highway 53.  Many of us may not live to see that one realized.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some posing for the July 4, 1993, Oconee Courthouse picture are now deceased:  Ed Rudowski (Wheelchair at left of picture), Major Rice, Charlie Pugh, Robert Brown, Jim Booth, Harold Marable,  Merle Gasaway and others.  This picture was on display for years on the entrance hall wall of the courthouse.

 


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