Ocilla community honors WWII Veteran - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Ocilla community honors WWII Veteran

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American flags fly over deceased U.S. Veterans American flags fly over deceased U.S. Veterans
U.S. Veterans came to honor fallen soldiers and fellow veterans U.S. Veterans came to honor fallen soldiers and fellow veterans
Northeast Cemetery Chairman says they cleaned up the old cemetery Northeast Cemetery Chairman says they cleaned up the old cemetery
93-year old Alfonso Owens says he's proud to be a veteran 93-year old Alfonso Owens says he's proud to be a veteran
Flagpoles and plaque were placed in cemetery to honor U.S. Military Flagpoles and plaque were placed in cemetery to honor U.S. Military
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OCILLA, GA (WALB) -

Veterans honored fellow troops who have passed on at a Veterans Day ceremony at a south Georgia cemetery Monday.

More than 30 veterans and community members attended the dedication ceremony of a memorial plaque at the Ocilla Northeast Cemetery.

More than 100 American veterans are buried in the cemetery, and now American flags fly proudly on every one of their graves.

"It was a milestone. I mean it was awesome just seeing the number of people show up that did," says cemetery president Bobby Williams.

Many community leaders and U.S. Vets came to honor one of Ocilla's oldest veterans, 93-year old Alfonso Owens. He served in the U.S. Military during World War Two.

Owens was stationed in North Africa when the Allied forces invaded France, and he says he can remember his tour like yesterday.

"We were right on the Mediterranean and we were out listening to hear when the soldiers made their entrance into France. It was such an exciting day for us. We were looking across the Mediterranean sea and we were in North Africa. I said 'I guess we'll be going there pretty soon'," says Owens with a smile on his face.

Sure enough they did head to France. But after 3 years, 9 months and 14 days, Owens came back to the states; right back home to Ocilla where he's been ever since.

For years, he tried to get a flagpole placed in the cemetery where so many veterans now lay.

And Monday, an American flag and monument in Owen's honor proudly stood.

"It's definitely great to know that even after I'm gone, I'm still going to be recognized. I'm still going to be remembered for my time served in Iraq and my time not being in Iraq but just wearing this uniform," says current U.S. Army Specialist Terry Dixon.

Veterans say soldiers who wear the uniform are the ones who ensure our country remains the land of the free.

"We are a free country and because men and women fought you know we enjoy liberties now that other countries not enjoyed for years," says Lt. Col.. Army Retired Reginald Miller.

The memorial plaque in Owens' honor was donated by local funeral homes and will remain a statement of heroism for the city of Ocilla and its hometown veterans.

Poles with American flags were placed in both the east and west ends of the cemetery.

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