Hogansville holds annual Memorial Day ceremony, honors former mayor Stankiewicz

Published 2:26 pm Monday, May 29, 2023

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Hogansville held its annual Memorial Day service at Calvin Hipp Park. The 2023 event was hosted by the American Legion Post 152.

Former Hogansville city councilman and Gulf War veteran George Bailey emceed the event. Bailey has helped organize the Memorial Day service in Hogansville for 15 years. 

Mayor Jake Ayers thanked the many volunteers who helped set up the event, including those who placed more than 700 flags in the cemetery and around the park.

District 136 State House Representative David Jenkins provided the keynote remarks for the ceremony. Jenkins is a former Clayton County police officer and United States Army helicopter pilot serving with the 101st Airborne Division. 

“We’re here today to honor those that paid the ultimate sacrifice. Those that gave their lives so that we could come together like we are here today as free Americans and enjoy all of this,” Jenkins said. “They gave their lives because they believed in this and they felt it was worth it.”

Jenkins said he served for about 14 years in three combat deployments, flying in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

“I can try to think back to the various campaigns I was in and what that really meant for the whole thing. But what is not hard to remember —and what is with me every day— is the people I served with, particularly those that we lost,” Jenkins said.

“These losses are ripples on a pond. Every soldier we lose is a mother, a father, a brother, a sister. They belong to people and for every one of these terrible losses it ripples out far and wide into communities like this all over the country,” he said.

Jenkins reiterated that our brave military veterans make those sacrifices because they believe it’s worth it.

“It’s a sacrifice that our forefathers decided was worth making early on and that’s why we stand here today. That’s why we have the freedom we have. That’s why we live. We don’t serve a king. We don’t bow to an emperor. We’re a free country because of these brave sacrifices,” Jenkins said.

Troup County Commission Chairman Patrick Crews recognized former Hogansville Mayor and US Navy veteran Bill Stankiewicz who passed away in January. Crews said Stankiewicz was proud of his military service and Hogansville.

“I can tell you that he loved the community of Hogansville,” Crews said.

Crews said they met frequently as community leaders and Stankiewicz always had a story to share, frequently from his military service. 

“Bill was a great American. I respected his military service and appreciated what he did for Hogansville and the work he did for the betterment of the entire community,” Crews said.

Stankiewicz’s wife, Mary Stewart, was presented with flowers and a photo in thanks for their sacrifice.

Flowers and photos were given to the families of US Marine veteran Clifford Leon Dyes, Sr., who passed away in February, and US Navy veteran Johnny Cason, who passed in August 2022.