By LISA FARMER
Folks gathered Sunday afternoon at Tyler Park to honor veterans, both living and deceased, at the Veterans Day ceremony hosted by American Legion Post 59 and the General William C. Lee Memorial Commission.
It’s an annual event held on the Sunday afternoon closest to Veterans Day. Since the completion of the Veterans Memorial at Tyler Park, the event moved there last year from its previous location outside the General Lee Museum.
Former state American Legion Commander Eric Sinclair, who drew up the program for the day, said it is a good venue.
Dunn Mayor Oscar Harris, commander of American Legion Post 59 in Dunn, presided over the ceremony.
“I’d like to welcome you to ‘A Grateful Nation Remembers,’” he said.
American Legion District 13 Commander Jeff Cathcart was the keynote speaker. He resides in Siler City with his wife, the former Linda Gregory of Lillington.
He’s a 30-year Legionnaire, a business owner, former officer, a police academy director and the chief of security for former presidential candidate and televangelist Pat Robertson and the Christian Broadcasting Network. He is also a licensed private investigator.
He said he was glad to be in the “beautiful” Veterans Memorial “to celebrate the heroes who have defended our country.”
He said “50 years ago, gratitude was in short supply” for the returning Vietnam vets.
“In some places in our society that disrespect continues and we continue to ask why,” he said.
He said without our soldiers, America would never been able to end slavery, stop genocide and stop terrorist regimes. Without soldiers, he said, we would not be America.
He said, “We’ll have to call on veterans … to serve and save us again.”
Mr. Cathcart urged those in attendance to visit a VA hospital, donate to a veterans program or just say thank you.
“God bless you all. God bless our veterans. God bless the United States of America,” he said.
The Rev. Jeff Stewart gave the invocation. He is the chaplain for the post.
Triton High School JROTC cadets — Command Sgt. Elizabeth Locklear, Capt. Michael Cox, 2nd Lt. Daniel Molina, 2nd Lt. Colby Kolath, 1st Sgt. Roberto Garcia, 1st Sgt. Mahalya Crocker, Master Sgt. Michael Marbut and Sgt. Toby Howry — raised the flag. They were commanded by Keith Howard.
Shannon Massengill sang the national anthem. The Dunn Middle School Band directed by John W. Pope Jr. performed a musical medley of military hymns. Ray Stone with VFW Post 6767 led the Pledge of Allegiance. Joe Jordan sang “God Bless America.”
Members of Dunn Boy Scouts Troop 711 laid the wreath. They were Garrett Warren, Logan Stroud, Gavin Harris, Carson Smith, Jackson Warren and Anderson Wood. Scoutmaster is Matthew Smith.
“Taps” was performed by Glenn Page and American Legion District 13 Vice Commander Mike Beasley introduced the speaker.
The benediction was led by the Rev. Samuel Hall of American Legion Post 59.
“You love America, Lord, you prove it every day,” he prayed. “Bless those who are guarding the gates of freedom.”