Stephens County Observes Memorial Day

Stephens County takes time to honor the fallen on Memorial Day.

The county’s annual Memorial Day observance took place Monday on the lawn of the historic Stephens County Courthouse in downtown Toccoa.

During Monday’s observance, organizers presented three American flags that recently flew over the U.S. Capitol to the families of William Grady Hill, Max Franklin Lanier, and John Edward Bell.

Hill is listed Missing in Action from the Korean War.

An American flag is presented to the family of William Grady Hill

According to Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4346 Commander Rick Hack, Hill went missing in 1950.

Hack said it is important to remember those like Hill and another Toccoa resident, Terrell Junior Fuller, who went missing in action.

“We pray for guidance for those work in finding the remains of (Hill and Cprl. Fuller) so they may be reunited with their families and returned to their final resting place in Stephens County,” said Hack.

Hack also took time to remember other men from Toccoa who lost their lives during the Korean War.

Meanwhile, Lanier and Bell both lost their lives when their submarines went down in the 1960s.

Larry Poole with American Legion Post 104 said Lanier’s USS Scorpion went down for unknown reasons in 1968 in the Atlantic Ocean, southwest of the Azores Islands.

“Petty Officer Lanier was a 13-year veteran in the Navy and was home with his family in early 1968 just before being assigned to the Scorpion,” said Poole. “At the time of his death, Lanier was survived by his wife, a daughter, three sons, his parents, four brothers, and two sisters.”

Meanwhile, Bell was on the USS Thresher when it sank in 1963 off the coast of Massachusetts in a diving test.

Lamar Davis with the Stephens County Historical Society said he knew Bell, as well as Lanier.

“I took vocational agriculture,” said Davis. “In our class, we had a mixture of different ages and I happened to be in that class part of that time with Frank Lanier and John Ed Bell and I remember both men,” said Davis.

He called Bell a quiet, well-behaved young man who teachers probably enjoyed having in class.

American Legion Post 104 Adjutant William Tucker also paid special recognition to Robert Franklin Powell of Toccoa, who lost his life in a 1962 aircraft accident in California.

In addition to the special recognitions, the program included presentations of wreaths honoring all veterans who have paid the supreme sacrifice from different patriotic and civic organizations.

American Legion Post 104, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4346, Marine Corps Detachment 1303, and AMVETS Post 600 hosted the program.