Veterans commission briefs Coweta-Fayette Rotarians on mission, goals

Malcolm Jackson (L) and Joe Brooks attended the Nov. 11 meeting of the Coweta-Fayette Rotary Club to review the activities of the Coweta Commission on Veterans Affairs which the two men co-chair. Photo/Ben Nelms.

Malcolm Jackson and Joe Brooks can always be counted on to keep the sacrifices of members of the military and the memories of that service alive in the minds of Coweta County residents. Their mission continued on Veterans Day as the co-chairs of the Coweta Commission on Veterans Affairs (CCOVA) provided information on some of the organization’s activities with members of the Coweta-Fayette Rotary Club.

The CCOVA mission is simple - to provide an enhanced awareness to the community of the sacrifices made daily by all active duty military personnel, Reserve and National Guard components, military retirees and their families. The non-profit CCOVA is dedicated to ensuring the rights of all veterans and their families within Coweta County.

Keeping with the mission, Brooks and Jackson used the occasion Monday night to explain CCOVA’s mission and activities to the nearly 30 Rotary members attending the meeting in Senoia. The two men have been the driving force behind the four elaborately planned and executed “muster” events held in Coweta County over the past four years.

The musters, or military gatherings, have highlighted the service of Coweta veterans in World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the post-Vietnam era that continues to today. The first muster was held in 2010 and culminated with the fourth event last month.

Originally spanning one day with a host of activities at the Coweta County fairgrounds, the musters in 2012 and 2013 added a second day that included activities at The Centre for the Performing and Visual Arts in Newnan.

Muster II was in some ways different, running for more than a week and featuring the “The Wall that Heals,” a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial located in Washington, D.C. As with the memorial in Washington, the Traveling Wall drew large numbers of visitors from Coweta County and beyond, many of whom sought out the names of fallen friends and relatives inscribed on the memorial. Veterans were on hand throughout the week to escort visitors wanting to locate the name of a fallen soldier.

There are times in life when written or spoken words are simply incapable of describing the intensity and depth of human emotion. Such was the case in October 2011. For family and friends locating the name they searched for, the occasion was solemn. Many knelt or sat on the fairground grass, staring at the name on the wall. For many it was an experience that transcended time and space because much like a mirror, the high gloss of the wall casts the reflection of the one viewing the name of the fallen soldier and linking the two on that day.

A sampling of the events held at each of the events at the fairgrounds includes opening and closing ceremonies, a remembrance ceremony honoring the service of all military members, their families and those from Coweta County who gave their last full measure of devotion.

Each muster is also the occasion for displays of an endless variety of military memorabilia, vehicles and equipment and is attended by JROTC units from around the county and large numbers of citizens and students from Coweta County schools.

Jackson and Brooks said their initial mission of holding the four musters that spanned World War II to today has been accomplished. The men said they will take 2014 off. Given the magnitude of the events they brought to Coweta residents over the last four years it is only fitting that they take a breather.

For more information on CCOVA visit www.cowetacova.org or contact Joe Brooks at joehbrooks@gmail.com or Malcolm Jackson at mrjackson@numail.org

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