Veterans Day Salute!

Published 5:39 pm Tuesday, November 14, 2023

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MURFREESBORO – The town of Murfreesboro’s annual Veterans Day event looked a little different this year with the addition of a lunch provided by the Hertford County African American History Coalition.

But before the meal was served, attendees gathered at the War Veterans Memorial Monument outside of town hall for the short ceremony to honor those who served as members – past and present – of the United States military.

Pastor Berna Stephens, the town’s Mayor Pro-Tem, offered the invocation and benediction prayers during the event, and Trevon Abraham, the president of Chowan University’s Student Government Association, led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Murfreesboro Mayor Hal Thomas and Mayor Pro-Tem Berna Stephens took part in the annual Veterans Day salute. Staff Photo by Holly Taylor

Mayor Hal Thomas, retired US Air Force Master Sergeant, served as the speaker for the event, noting that this was the 17th year the town has hosted this service to honor local veterans.

“I might get a little sentimental here,” he said before reading the poem “I am a Veteran” by Andrea Christensen Brett.

The poem tells the stories of veterans who have returned home, but still remember their experiences and sacrifices during their service.

Following Mayor Thomas’ remarks, retired US Army Sgt. Larry Gaines played Taps as members of the Murfreesboro Police Department – Chief David Griffith, Captain James Dilday, and Sergeant Bryan Johnson – solemnly changed the flag flying over the monument.

Each year, on both Memorial Day and Veterans Day, the town flies a donated flag which has previously flown over the US Capitol.

Mayor Thomas and Chief Griffith also laid a wreath, which was donated by the town’s Coffee Club, on the monument in remembrance of veterans who are no longer with us.

James Futrell, a member of the history coalition, spoke briefly to invite everyone to attend the free lunch next door at the Murfree Center.

“Thank you for your service. Thank you for your sacrifice,” Futrell added.

The lunch consisted of spaghetti, salad, and bread prepared by members of the coalition group. As attendees ate and talked, they also had the opportunity to view a display of photos and information about local veterans and their tours of duty.

Saturday’s event in Murfreesboro included a display of photos and information about local veterans and their tours of duty. The display was set up inside the Murfree Center where lunch was served, courtesy of the Hertford County African American History Coalition. Staff Photo by Holly Taylor

“Our desire is to bring the town, the community, closer together,” explained Stephens, who is also a member of the coalition. “What better way to fellowship than with food?”

Stephens said she was pleased with the great turnout for both events, and was glad that the town and the history organization were able to work together for the veteran celebration.

The Hertford County African American History Coalition was formed in 2018 with the goal of documenting, preserving, and celebrating the contributions of African Americans in the county and surrounding region. They meet monthly and membership is open to everyone. Previously, they have sponsored other annual events including the Murfreesboro Juneteenth Freedom Day celebration and a Black History program in February.

They plan to make the Veterans Day lunch an annual event as well.

For more information about the Coalition, visit Cultivator Bookmobile on Facebook, email, or call 252-395-2327.