Stephens County wraps up another Currahee Military Weekend.
Events concluded Sunday morning with the annual remembrance service on Currahee Mountain.
“This morning, we gather again to pay tribute to those brave young men who 70 years, or seven plus decades ago, came here to this remote part of north Georgia, the mountains of Northeast Georgia in Toccoa, and began a movement that became the groundwork for our modern-day airborne divisions throughout the nation and throughout the world,” said the Rev. Jerry Dodd of Friendship Baptist Church in Toccoa speaking during the remembrance service.
Sunday’s service also included a 21-gun salute from a re-enactment group and the playing of “Taps.”
It concluded a busy weekend of activities throughout Stephens County to honor the men of Camp Toccoa.
Saturday, the veterans’ parade once again wound its way through downtown Toccoa, leading to the opening ceremonies at the historic train depot in downtown Toccoa.
During Saturday’s opening ceremonies, a group of new recruits was inducted into the Army.
Giving them their oath was Jim “Pee Wee” Martin, who was a member of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment that trained at Camp Toccoa.
“This has to be a very historic occasion. To my knowledge, it is the first time a lowly PFC has ever been asked to induct somebody into the Army,” said Martin to laughter for the audience.
After administering the oath, Martin thanked them for what they were signing up to do.
“Look at the veterans here,” said Martin to the recruits. “You probably see yourselves there sometime in the same position we are in now. When we came here, we had no idea whatsoever of what we would face. You do not either. We never dreamed we would be back here. There are many times we swore at the Army, wished we had never been there. But today, we are the happiest people in the world because of what we have done and I am sure you are going to be the same way.”
Saturday’s opening ceremonies also included performances by the Blue Ridge Rifles and the Vintage Vocals and greetings from both Stephens County Commission Chairman Stanley London and Toccoa Mayor David Austin.
On Saturday morning, the Currahee Challenge run/walk brought out more than 400 runners from around the country to make their way up and down Currahee Mountain, retracing the path run by the paratroopers during their training at Camp Toccoa.
Meanwhile on Saturday night, the annual Currahee Military Weekend banquet and auction was held. This year, the banquet took place on the Camp Toccoa site on Currahee Mountain and the entertainment included a 1940s radio show.
This year’s Currahee Military Weekend activities began Thursday evening with a musical tribute to veterans at the Schaefer Center in downtown Toccoa.
Friday’s events included the Chamber of Commerce BBQ, a Hangar Dance at the Toccoa-Stephens County Airport, and a book signing and “meet and greet” with the veterans at the historic train depot in downtown Toccoa.