State News

Veterans honored in area ceremonies

Posted November 11, 2011
Updated November 12, 2011

— North Carolina veterans were honored Friday in ceremonies across the Triangle that included speeches, the laying of wreaths, the playing of Taps and salutes.

Fayetteville's Veterans Day ceremony coincided with the city's 10-day Heroes Homecoming celebration in honor of Vietnam veterans.

A wreath was laid in Freedom Memorial Park, and a plaque was rededicated to 19 local prisoners of war in Vietnam, only five of whom made it home alive.

A group called Americans Who Care dedicated the plaque in 1973 in front a Fayetteville hotel that was demolished six years ago. A local business was supposed to refurbish the plaque, but the business went under and the plaque went missing.

The plaque somehow ended up in a crate bound for Thailand. A U.S. customs officer noticed it in California and thought Fayetteville would want it back, and it was recently returned.

Raymond Schrump, whose name is one of the 19 on the plaque, said he spent 1,727 days as a POW.

"I was taken into the jungle, put on my knees, (had a) pistol put to my head, and it fell on an empty chamber," Schrump said. "(That was) just to prove to you that they could take your life any time they wanted to."

The first Veterans Day ceremony also was held in the nearby North Carolina Veterans Park, which opened on July 4.

"I don't think it gets easier," veteran Joe Hrabovecky said while watching the ceremonies. "I'll always be shedding tears on Veterans Day."

Plaque dedicated to Vietnam POWs from Fayetteville Plaque dedicated to Vietnam POWs from Fayetteville

The Heroes Homecoming celebration culminates Saturday with an 11 a.m. parade through downtown Fayetteville. Watch the parade live on WRAL.com. 

Singer Darius Rucker headlines a Salute to the Troops at the Crown Coliseum complex Friday night.

Sarah Cockman-Myers, a combat nurse during the Vietnam war, said she came to Fayetteville from her home in Columbia, S.C., to take part in some of the Heroes Homecoming festivities.

"I've never been to (Veterans Day events) that actually gave anything for Army nurses, so this has been special for us," Myers said. "Day in and day out was morbid somewhat, but we tried to do our job quickly so we could save every life we could."

In Raleigh, Gov. Beverly Perdue observed Veterans Day in a ceremony in front of the World War II memorial on the old Capitol grounds.

"On Veterans Day, the day that we celebrate both the living and those who have gone on, we hold our hearts and our hands out to you and pledge that, indeed, in the most military-friendly state in America, we will do our part," Perdue said after laying a wreath at the memorial.

Gulf war veteran Anthony Bonapart, who helped organize the event, said it was a celebration of the camaraderie of all those who've worn the uniforms of the U.S. armed forces.

"It doesn't matter which war or if you served in peace or wartime. It's that we all served the country, and we served it with honor," Bonapart said.

Perdue honors NC veterans at Capitol Perdue honors NC veterans at Capitol

Perdue also thanked the families of the 168 troops from North Carolina who have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and she promised that the state would do more to help returning service members find jobs and support here at home.

About 800,000 veterans live in North Carolina.

"We call that boots on the ground, and we're mighty proud of those boots on the ground all over this great state," the governor said.

Earlier Friday, a parade wound its way through downtown Raleigh, and ROTC members at North Carolina State University held their annual run at dawn.

The Air Force Heritage of America Band will play at Memorial Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The concert is free, but tickets are required. They are available at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts box office or Raleigh's Public Affairs Department.

In Chapel Hill, nearly 80 members of the University of North Carolina's ROTC program paid tribute to veterans in a service at the Carolina Alumni Memorial, which honors those lost in military service.

On Saturday, the state will honor about a dozen war veterans who left high school to serve on battlefields by giving them special honorary diplomas at a ceremony at the Airborne & Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville.

The state Division of Veterans Affairs and educators have given the diplomas to more than 430 service members since 2001.

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  • Jackbegood Nov 14, 2011

    I hope you all you fellow VETS had a GREAT day. I too am a vet of 21 years, but did not go to Viet Nam. My wartime was Grenada, Panama, and Desert Storm/Sheild.

  • vraptor Nov 11, 2011

    Thank you veterans.

    My dad was in the army during the korean war. He was drafted. The fighting was over. But he did a tour in country. Since he had a college degree. He did finance stuff for the army.

    One of my dad's biddies served in WWII.

    The navy tried really hard to get me to do ROTC because I was in an engineering program. They where looking for engineering degree people to work on the nuke reactors on the nuke subs. I passed. Knowing what I know now. I should have gone thru ROTC and gotten my college paid for.

    Thanks :)

  • robjustrob Nov 11, 2011

    Oh, gee... I missed the speeches, the parades, the wreath laying and all the comraderie today. I am a veteran and I had to work today. Thanks, big business! Thanks for not giving a flip.

  • JE Nov 11, 2011

    > Considering 87% of servicemembers ARE republicans ...

    That's a lie, of course:

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/118684/military-veterans-ages-tend-republican.aspx

  • JE Nov 11, 2011

    > ust thought it interesting that a party that is so pro military and supports our military as they do is ran by so many that never served

    Not surprising to me. There's talking the talk, and there's walking the walk. And an inverse correlation between the two.

  • msgtlen Nov 11, 2011

    As a veteran of Vietnam and a total of 26 years Army/ Air Force combined, today was a day to reflect on all that have served with honor. As i watched the parade today in Raleigh, just t look at another Vietnam Vet, catch his eye, a slight nod said it all. Welcome home to all the Vietnam vets. Something we never received. I felt really good today. When I see others who wear they hats reflecting their service no matter what branch or war or peacetime there is a common bond which bonds us. To \day I say thank you to all that served and a special prayer those that gave the sacrifice so that all can live free. And a thanks to my son who entered the Air Force 2 years ago as an officer. Thanks Son from dad.

  • Tax Man Nov 11, 2011

    God Bless all who have served and those who continue to serve in our military and national guards! Thank you for your service and sacrifices! It may seem like you are overlooked at times but be aware you are in the prayers of the great majority of Americans! Have a nice Veterans Day!
    Vietnam 1968-1972 USN VF-151 Vigilantes

  • Mr. Middle of the Road Nov 11, 2011

    And by the way, I defended cowards and draft dodgers to. It really didn't matter to me. They were all Americans.

  • Mr. Middle of the Road Nov 11, 2011

    I don't know about gunny's marines, but we in the green slime rarely talked politics. We had more important things to do.

  • cantstandya Nov 11, 2011

    gunny462." Not going to disagree with your statement but found it surprising that far more sitting democrats served than did sitting republicans,I served my time so it really makes no diffrence to me ,but just thought it interesting that a party that is so pro military and supports our military as they do is ran by so many that never served.Semper Fi and enjoy this day.

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