A recent flag presentation in Columbia County honored a Navy submarine returning to service and gave residents a chance to become part of history.
On Thursday morning at the Evans Government Center auditorium, Columbia County was the 84th county to take part in a Georgia flag ceremony to celebrate the USS Georgia's impending arrival at the submarine base in Kings Bay.
"The Georgia Flag Project is the brainchild of the Navy in welcoming home the USS Georgia," said Andy Crosson, the executive director of the CSRA Regional Development Center.
Four members of the JROTC Color Guard at Evans High School marched to the front of the room and led the spectators in the pledge of allegiance.
After the presentation, those in attendance were urged to sign their names to a page of the ship's official log book, which will become a permanent part of the USS Georgia's records.
County Commission Chairman Ron Cross was the first person to sign.
Wayne Rickman, a retired admiral from Aiken, served as the Navy League representative and spoke to the crowd about the importance of the ceremony.
"You should be proud of the (USS) Georgia, as you should be proud of the fact that you took the time to honor the ship and its crew," Rickman said. "She will be in the support of warriors, on the front line of the beaches and at sea, executing operations that will defend the United States against the war on terror."
The Georgia is roughly the length of two football fields. The 42-foot-wide Trident submarine reaches four stories high, can launch up to 154 Tomahawk missiles and supports more than 66 Navy SEALs.
The ship was re-engineered during the past two years and will officially return to service March 28 in Kings Bay as a guided missile submarine.
The Georgia was first launched in 1982 and was estimated to have a 20-year life span, Crosson said.
The Georgia flag presentations began in December in Hall County and will continue through March, covering all 159 counties.
Gov. Sonny Perdue will present the flag and the logbook, filled with signatures of Georgia residents, to the captain and crew of the sub during a ceremony at Kings Bay in March.
Crosson said the flag presented during the event likely will be encased, put on display and become the ship's ceremonial flag.
During Thursday's service, the county commission issued a proclamation recognizing March 28 as USS Georgia Day in Columbia County.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.