CONYERS — The Memorial Day program at the Walk of Heroes Veterans War Memorial at Black Shoals Park has always been a well-attended ceremony. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no actual ceremony at the memorial, but the Walk of Heroes and Rockdale County have joined forces to create a virtual Memorial Day Ceremony, which will be aired for the first time at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 25.

Tommy Clack, president and chairman of the board of the Walk of Heroes, said the video may be one of the few virtual Memorial Day events honoring the 152nd Memorial Day and will be shared throughout the world.

“My network of military, civic/veterans organizations, churches, etc. are willing to forward this throughout their respective outlets,” Clack said. “Armed Forces Network will provide this opportunity to the world’s military bases and ships at sea.”

The video follows the format of the Walk of Heroes’ traditional program, with each segment being filmed and then put together by Sean Kimbell, a member of the Rockdale County Public Relations Department.

“Sean has accomplished a truly smooth flowing masterpiece,” Clack said. “Sean’s talents and abilities will make this a professional historical document.”

Clack acts as master of ceremony and introduces each segment:

♦ Presentation of Colors by the Honor Guard of American Legion Post 77/Conyers.

♦ Pledge of Allegiance provided by: Art Darr, commander of American Legion Post 77/Conyers; Richard Dranikoski, commander of VFW Post 5290/Conyers; Howard Hendrickson, treasurer of Georgia Vietnam Veterans Alliance; and James Bledsoe, past state president of the GA Viet Nam Vets/Legacy Vets Motorcycle Club.

♦ National Anthem sung by Rachael Mann, a recording artist in Nashville, Tenn.

♦ Invocation by Dr. Dave Benson, senior pastor, Conyers First United Methodist Church.

♦ Welcome and introduction of the Walk of Heroes board of directors by Norman Wheeler, vice-chairman and one of three founding fathers of the memorial.

♦ Welcome and comments by Commissioner Mike Roby, Georgia Department of Veterans Services; BG Randall Simmons, assistant adjutant general Georgia Army National Guard; Chairman Oz Nesbitt, Rockdale County Commission; Sheriff Eric Levett, Rockdale County Sheriff’s Department.

♦ Medley of Service Songs

♦ Keynote Speaker: James Blaylock, past Georgia and National commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

♦ Video of “A Soldier’s Pledge,” from President Reagan’s Inaugural Speech on Jan. 20, 1981.

♦ A drone video of the Walk of Heroes Veterans War Memorial.

♦ Taps by Jason Smith, band director for Newton High School, during a video of the fly over of Atlanta on May 2 by the Navy Blue Angels and Air Force Thunderbirds.

♦ Benediction by Samuel Giles, pastor, Life Center Ministries, Atlanta

People can go to the website www.walkofheroes.org and a link will be on the first page to click on to access the Memorial Day Ceremony video, to air at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 25, the 152nd Annual Memorial Day.

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Senior Reporter

Born and raised in Decatur, Ga. Graduated from Shorter College in Rome, Ga. in 1979 with B.A. in Communications. Worked in community newspapers for 26 years. Started at Rockdale Citizen/Newton Citizen in January 2016.

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