Veterans Day Salute!

Published 5:31 pm Tuesday, November 14, 2023

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News Correspondent

CONWAY – Jack Smith, Northampton County Sheriff, guest speaker, honored all Veterans past and present for their service at Conway’s Memorial Park here Saturday, Nov. 11.

Mayor W.L. Duke, Jr. (US Coast Guard 1978-1982) welcomed everyone on this crisp fall morning. A prayer was given by Robin Futrell, Town Administrator.

Everyone participated in a rousing song of our National Anthem followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. Mayor Duke introduced Smith as the guest speaker. Smith served in the US Marine Corps from 1970-72.

Smith, in a solemn voice said, “On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. the fighting of World War I ended in 1918.”

Due to the conclusion of the war to end all wars, it became a universally recognized day of celebration.

Northampton Sheriff Jack Smith, a former Marine, served as the guest speaker at the Conway event. Photo by Danny Bowman Jr.

The day was originally declared “Armistice Day” eight years after the end of World War I and honored only veterans of that war. Then in 1954, after World War II and the Korean War, it was renamed “Veterans Day” to honor all veterans who served America in war and defended democracy.

Today we honor all our veterans who unselfishly laid their lives on the line for our freedom.

“These men and women who left their families, homes and lives, not for recognition, fame or even the honor we bestow upon them today,” Smith stated. “They fought to protect our country and maintain our way of life. As we honor our veterans and remember their great deeds, let us also salute those who are currently fighting for our freedom.

“The War on Terrorism helped us all realize how truly unique the American way of life is,” Smith continued. “The freedom we enjoy is extremely special and that is why we must defend it. Now is the time to not only honor those that have fought or fighting for our freedom, but it is also the time for each of us to take part in protecting it.”

Smith stressed that all Americans share in the defense of freedom.

“We don’t have to join the Army or the Navy or any other organization of defense to actively defend our way of life. We can protect our freedom simply by maintaining it here in America,” he said.

Smith mentioned that each American can help to preserve our freedoms by putting into action, for example, voting in our elections or speaking out against injustices.

“To ensure everyone feels the benefits of freedom we can do that by volunteering in our communities or teaching our children what it really means to be an American,” Smith noted.

“How would it be if we were not allowed to assemble as we are today or were not allowed to vote, travel or worship freely,” he pointed out. “What if you couldn’t live where you wanted or dress how you desire? What if you couldn’t petition the government for changes?

“Today we honor all our veterans who unselfishly placed their lives on the line for our freedom,” Smith said.

He thanked everyone for coming and honoring our nation’s heroes, our veterans, saying, “Let us walk toward tomorrow still honoring them by living in the freedom they protected.”

Cecil Warren (US Army 1975-1998) and L.G. Britt, Jr. (US Army 1966-68) proceeded with the Laying of the Wreath.

A musical tribute of official marchpasts/songs of the six branches of the United States Armed Forces: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Space Force was presented. The medley is usually played in increasing order of precedence: Semper Paratus (Coast Guard), Semper Supra (Space Force), The US Air Force, Anchors Aweigh (Navy), Marine’s Hymn, and The Army Goes Rolling Along.

The Benediction was led by Mayor Duke.