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Veterans come out for Snellville Flag Day ceremony

Staff Photo: Camie Young Richard Hyman of the Patriot Guard Riders holds an American flag during Snellville's Flag Day ceremony Friday.

Staff Photo: Camie Young Richard Hyman of the Patriot Guard Riders holds an American flag during Snellville's Flag Day ceremony Friday.

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Staff Photo: Camie Young Marion J. NeSmith, a 92-year-old World War II veteran, gives a member of the Snellville Police honor guard a flag once flown over the U.S. Capitol, during a Flag Day ceremony Friday.

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Staff Photo: Camie Young Nicholas Heaton, front, and Boy Scouts from Troop 553 salute the flag during a Flag Day ceremony at Snellville City Hall Friday. The other scouts include (from left to right) Stephen Ito, Nathan Cung, Boyce Moore, Luke Horton, Adrian Heaton and Calvin Harris.

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Staff Photo: Camie Young Veterans salute the flag during a Flag Day ceremony Friday in Snellville.

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Staff Photo: Camie Young Members of the Sons of the American Revolution Button Gwinnett Chapter of the Elijah Clarke Militia perfom a three-volley gun salute at Snellville City Hall, during a Flag Day ceremony Friday.

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Staff Photo: Camie Young The Snellville Police honor guard raise a flag at Snellville City Hall that once flew over the U.S. Capitol during a Flag Day ceremony Friday.

SNELLVILLE -- Councilman Mike Sabbagh says he doesn't like to wait for Veteran's Day or Memorial Day to show his appreciation to those who sacrificed for freedom in America.

So he and about 100 residents saluted the flag during the city's second annual Flag Day ceremony Friday.

With a couple dozen veterans, including seven Purple Heart recipients, the solemn ceremony included a city proclamation honoring the nation's "beacon of hope," as Mayor Kelly Kautz called the stars and stripes.

"We are honored to fly this flag high," Sabbagh said, before handing off a flag that once flew over the U.S. Capitol to 92-year-old World War II veteran Pfc. Marion J. NeSmith. NeSmith then presented the flag upon the Snellville Police Honor Guard, who raised it at the City Hall flag pole.

"I teared up," Kautz said at the end of the ceremony. "Thank you, gentlemen, for your service to our country," she said to the veterans.

After a rendition of "God Bless America," the ceremony ended with a musket volley from members of the Sons of the American Revolution, Button Gwinnett Chapter of the Elijah Clarke Militia.

Calvin Calmes, an Army reservist, was in Afghanistan when Snellville held its first Flag Day ceremony last year. But he was pleased to learn of the new tradition in the city where he lives.

"This is America. We should always celebrate what we achieved," Calmes, a staff sergeant, said after the ceremony.