Saluting our Vets

Published 9:18 am Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Roanoke-Chowan area will honor local veterans Wednesday morning with Veterans Day ceremonies in Ahoskie, Conway, Gatesville, Jackson, Murfreesboro, and Windsor.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says on its website the Veterans Day is, “A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.”

It is a day for all citizens to honor veterans, to honor our fellow Americans for stepping up to serve the county, both in war and in peace.

President Woodrow Wilson started it as “Armistice Day” in 1919 to honor the nation’s part in World War I, “the war to end all wars,” which ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

Following World War II and the Korean War, President Dwight Eisenhower in 1954 changed the name of the national holiday to “Veterans Day” to honor all those who have served to protect our nation.

On Wednesday, Nov. 11, towns in all four counties of the R-C area will honor local veterans.

In Ahoskie, a ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. at No Man’s Land Park adjacent to the railroad crossing on Main Street.

As part of the Veterans Day celebration, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial will be dedicated.

By the official end of the Vietnam War in April of 1975, nearly 3 million American servicemen and women had been on the ground, in the air, on the rivers, and at sea within Vietnam’s borders, serving in some capacity during the conflict.

At least 58,185 service members paid the ultimate sacrifice during the difficult and painful period, seven of which were from Hertford County.

The Nov. 11 event in Ahoskie kicks off with a 10 a.m. parade on Main Street, from Southern Bank to McGlohon Street.

The focus will shift to No Man’s Land Park at 11 a.m. where American Legion Hertford County Post 102 Commander James Hutchinson will lead the ceremony.

Retired Master Sgt. Rossie M. Nance Jr., State Commander of the Vietnam Veterans Association, will serve as the featured speaker.

Following the ceremony, all military veterans are invited to lunch served at Ahoskie Methodist Church.

In Conway, the annual Veterans Day ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. at the Conway Veterans Memorial Park.

The guest speaker will be Northampton County Sheriff Jack W. Smith, a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.

In Gatesville, all citizens of Gates County are invited to a Veterans’ Day service at 11 a.m. at the new courthouse.

The speaker for this year’s service is Gatesville is native Major General (Ret.) Aaron L. Lilley.

All veterans of all ages, and their families, are especially encouraged to attend.

In Jackson, the Northampton County Department of Veterans Affairs will host its annual Veterans Day program from 11 a.m. until 12 noon at the Northampton County Cultural & Wellness Center, 9536 NC HWY 305, in Jackson.

The guest speaker will be Rev. Franklin Williams Jr.

Local veterans, surviving spouses, family and friends are encouraged to attend. Light refreshments will be served while supplies last. For more information, please contact Duane Ashmon at 534-2621.

In Murfreesboro, a Veteran’s Day ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m. at the Murfreesboro Town Hall.

The featured speaker will be U.S. Navy Lieutenant Jeremy B. Watson, who volunteered straight after high school to become a cryptological technician and then an electronic intelligence instructor.

He later reported to the University of Idaho where he graduated with a B.S in Sociology with a minor in Justice Studies in 2008. Following graduation he was commissioned an Ensign and received flight training.

Following qualification he was designated an Electronic Warfare Mission Commander leading a Combat Reconnaissance Crew on deployment to Southwest Asia.

In July 2013, Lieutenant Watson reported to North Carolina State University Naval ROTC as an Aviation Warfare Officer Instructor and Freshman Advisor.

In Windsor, Lawrence Memorial Public Library will commemorate Veterans Day, Nov. 11 with the display of World War II scrapbooks that Lillian Harden, Lawrence Memorial Public Library Assistant, has put together of Bertie County World War II veterans since May 2005.

The scrapbooks will be up in the library during normal operating hours from Monday, Nov. 2-16.

Harden has compiled over 600 stories of Bertie County World War II veterans.

Harden and former mayor of Windsor, Bob Spivey, were interviewed by Scott Mason, the Tarheel Traveler, of WRAL-TV out of Raleigh, in November 2014. That interview can be seen on the web page of the Albemarle Regional Public Library at