In his 96 years, Judge Aaron Cohn received many honors, but this one surpasses them all, one of his three children told Saturday's crowd at the dedication ceremony of Muscogee County's newest public school.
Aaron Cohn Middle School "reflects the culmination of his legacy," Gail Cohn said. "His passion was about the education and the rehabilitation of our children. He believed that schools were critical for character education and the development of our young people."
Cohn was a lifelong Columbus resident. This son of Jewish immigrants grew up to help liberate a concentration camp and earn a Bronze Star while serving under Gen. George Patton in the 3rd Cavalry during World II. In 2011, when he retired at 95 after 46 years as a juvenile court judge, he was the nation's oldest and longest-serving jurist for children. This patriot died on Independence Day the following year.
"For those of you who are teachers, parents and students in this school, you have a name which you can justly be proud," Gail Cohn continued. "The name Aaron Cohn stands for integrity, honesty, respect for others, cooperation, kindness and fairness. In order to reflect honor and pride on your school, you can do no less. Aaron Cohn Middle School is about the best of human values and the man who lived them.
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"Now, on his behalf, let me say, as he always ended every speech he ever gave, God bless each of you, and God bless America."
The $19 million project at 7352 Garrett Road in northeast Columbus is funded by the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax voters approved in 2009. The architect is 2WR of Georgia; the contractor is Freeman/Balfour Beatty.