Georgia Honors Its War Dead
A day after hundreds of candlelight peace vigils across the nation, Georgia mourned its fallen troops and paid homage Thursday to those still serving during a prayer service and moment of silence.
Flags atop public buildings flew at half-staff, and a Capitol service was webcast so members of the Georgia National Guard’s 48th Brigade in Iraq could watch.
Gov. Sonny Perdue announced plans for the memorial two weeks ago when the 48th Brigade suffered 11 casualties in 11 days. Four more members have died since then. Another brigade member died in a vehicle accident in June.
The service drew hundreds of servicemen and servicewomen to the Capitol, along with veterans long retired from active duty.
“I’m here to support the troops, some of whom could be my grandkids,” said Tom Salter, 63, who was a bomb disposal officer in Vietnam. “I think it’s an appropriate thing to do, to show support.”
Robert Stokely had planned to attend the Capitol service in honor of his son, who was serving in Iraq. On Thursday, however, 23-year-old Sgt. Michael Stokely was among those being mourned.
“My son died doing what he wanted to do,” Stokely said. “My son was a man beyond anything I will ever achieve. He was a good man. A good man.”
The moment of silence began at 1 p.m.
At East Broad Elementary School in Savannah, third-graders in Yolonda Washington’s and Melody Hunter’s math class put down their pencils and laid their heads on their desks. Both teachers have husbands serving in Iraq with active-duty Army units.