Seventy-five veterans who live at Christian City were honored with daily events and activities during the week of Veterans Day. Individuals and groups from surrounding communities joined in the celebration to honor the men and women of Christian City who served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Gulf Wars.
On Monday morning, the Creekside High School JROTC Color Guard presented the colors at the Veterans Day ceremony, and Kristie Kenney, Christian City’s Director of Annual Giving, beautifully sang the National Anthem. The Monday program also included live music by the Hillbilly Band, which included a 96-year-old World War II veteran, Lofton Hill, on guitar and vocals.
President and CEO, Keith Horton, called each veteran’s name and presented a commemorative pin to each veteran. Horton served in the United States military for 20 years, including his position as deputy director of the Combat Arms Force Management Division for the Pentagon. He retired at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 2006. Horton joined Christian City as President and CEO in July 2019.
The commander of Creekside High JROTC, Col. Ret. George Fields, returned to the campus on Tuesday evening with several members of VFW 6649 in Fairburn for an evening of fellowship with the veterans who currently reside at Christian City in active senior homes, the assisted living center or skilled nursing & rehabilitation center.
Thanks to Newnan High School’s history department, a Wednesday Student-Vet Connect event allowed the juniors and seniors who are enrolled in an advanced elective Military History class at NHS to talk one-on-one with a 100-year-old World War II veteran, William Muckenfuss, a current resident of the Christian City Skilled Nursing Center. The 55 students who visited also talked one-on-one with several veterans about their experience during the Vietnam War.
Student-Vet Connect events started at Newnan High in 1995 with the 50th anniversary of World War II. Twice a year, 60-80 veterans participate in the event at the Armory in Newnan. “Over the last 25 years, we have introduced about 10,000 students to veterans through this program,” said Stephen Quesinberry, NHS History Department Chair.
Approximately 40 – 50 NHS students are also involved in the “Adopt a Vet” program, a student idea that came out of the History Club. The vets and students meet a few times a year and some have formed lasting relationships beyond high school graduation. “One of the goals of the program is to have the kids become comfortable talking with people other than their peers,” Quesinberry said.
The week-long celebration continued Thursday afternoon with a visit from Dale Barnett, US Army Ret., and National Commander of the American Legion from 2015-2016. Barnett spoke at “A Patriotic People’s Club” event in the Christian City auditorium.
On Friday afternoon, a Wall of Honor featuring portraits of many of the veterans who currently reside at Christian City was unveiled at the Recreation Center. As he welcomed the veterans and their family and friends to the vent, CEO Keith Horton stood before two World War II veterans, Albert Sessoms and Bill Muckenfuss, as he reflected on his desire to do something spectacular for our vets. “We stand on the shoulders of those who served in all conflicts. If not for those who served, we would not be where we are today,” Horton said.
“I’m grateful for the work of Tyler Garcia, our Director of Campus Recreation, in organizing a full week of events to honor our veterans,” Horton said. He also recognized Myrna Johnson, Christian City’s Director of Life Enrichment and a veteran who served five years in the U.S. Marines. Johnson presented “The Missing Man Table” in remembrance of POW and MIA veterans. Following the ceremony, attendees enjoyed refreshments and fellowship with the veterans of Christian City.
About Christian City
Christian City was established 54 years ago when the first cottage for abused and abandoned children opened on Valentine’s Day 1965. Today, there are more than 1,000 residents, both children and senior adults, living at Christian City, a nonprofit organization that depends on the generosity of donors for financial support. The 500-acre campus, located 15 minutes south of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and adjacent to the border with Fayette County, includes the Children’s Village Residential Program, Crossroads Foster Care & Adoption Program, Safe Place Runaway & Homeless Youth Program, Thrive Graduate Transition Program, active senior living patio homes and apartments, thrift store, assisted living center, skilled nursing & rehab center, memory care, home health and hospice care. The nonprofit serves the entire metro Atlanta area and beyond from its campus in south Fulton County. For more information, visit www.christiancity.org or call 770-703-AMEN.