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