Fayetteville, N.C. — An exhibit opening next week at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville celebrates the contribution of North Carolina veterans.
“A Legacy of Army Service: Tar Heels 1940 to the Present,” which runs from June 14 through October, highlights soldiers with airborne and Special Operations connections and recognizes North Carolina Army National Guard and Army Reserve units, including the 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team headquartered in Clinton and the 824th Quartermasters based at Fort Bragg.
The centerpiece is a display of 10,000 dog tags representing the North Carolina soldiers who have died since 1940.
There are photos and homespun stories of North Carolina service members, such as the three Poole brothers from Roxboro who answered the nation's call together, despite rules that no two brothers could deploy to the same region.
"They both went for fear of the other being left behind," museum curator Nicole Suarez said
And the story of Staff Sgt. Eric Hammonds, who wore a Lumbee Indian medal when he went off to Iraq in the first Gulf War.
“After they leave this exhibit, they’ll get a better sense of the type of people who are in the military and who are North Carolinians,” Suarez said.
Admission to the museum is free.
The exhibit will complement the July 4 opening of the North Carolina State Veterans Park, which is under construction next to the museum. The park commemorates a veteran's journey before, during and after service.