Harnett County will take time out Monday to celebrate Veterans Day as citizens gather to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice which ended fighting in World War I.
According to Harnett County Veterans Services Officer Amy Noel, the schedule for this year’s celebration has been rotated to encourage more participation. Because Veterans Day falls on Sunday this year, the events were moved to Monday.
The official Veterans Day celebration is traditionally held on Nov. 11 marking the end of the war on Nov. 11, 1918.
On Monday, the day will start with the annual county Veterans Parade. As of Thursday, 35 participants are scheduled to make the march down Front Street before turning south onto Main Street. The parade will begin at 10 a.m. at the corner of West 10th and Lofton streets. It will end near the intersection of Lofton and South Main streets.
Mrs. Noel expects good participation in the parade and good crowds. The line-up is nearly double from previous years.
“We are hoping to have a good parade,” Mrs. Noel said.
Participants will include assorted veterans groups from throughout the county as well as school groups, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops and marching bands.
Bands which are scheduled to participate include the 82nd Airborne Band, the Triton and Harnett Central High School marching bands. School JROTC groups from Overhills High School and Harnett Central High School will participate. There will also be car clubs, local law enforcement groups and several first responder organizations.
A new addition to this year’s event will be a food truck in the parking lot near Jr. Mart. Curbside Cravins will provide an assortment of food. The food truck is based out of Fayetteville. Lillington United Methodist Church will provide free hot chocolate and lemonade to parade-goers.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will also participate in this year’s parade.
The celebration will move to Harnett Veterans Memorial Park at 1 p.m. for the annual Veterans Day service. Once again veterans from all branches of service will participate. Members of each branch will be recognized with the playing of their branch’s theme song as they are asked to stand.
The Veterans Park is located directly in front of the Harnett County Courthouse on Cornelius Harnett Boulevard.
This year’s service will feature remarks by Lt. Col. Christopher D. Johnson of Chesapeake, Va.
Now based out of Fort Bragg, Lt. Col. Johnson has served the Army at posts around the world. He has been awarded multiple decorations including the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service Medal, Meritorious Unit Citation, Army Drill Sergeant Badge, Parachutist Badge and the Army Staff Identification Badge.