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Spring Lake honors locals with military ties

Posted November 11

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— The town of Spring Lake sits in the shadow of Fort Bragg, and about half of its municipal employees are military veterans, with 400 years of combined service in the armed forces.

"A number of veterans actually serve up under me at the police department," said Police Chief Troy McDuffie, an Army veteran himself. "Their leadership, that discipline is always a plus and always a value."

A Veterans Day ceremony at Spring Lake's Veterans Park on Friday honored not only those vets but two native sons and a daughter with military connections. They each received a brick marker near the town's monument to those who served.

Rose Allen, who is married to a veteran, served as a records clerk during the Korean War.

"I processed records to send military into combat. We checked to make sure they were combat-qualified," Allen said. "It was just awful because we knew where they were going when we did those records."

The hour-long ceremony was highlighted with prayer and a wreath-laying for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. The hollow sound of Taps rang out in their honor.

Eric Nilsen said he lost a Special Forces buddy during a training exercise.

"I still took that time to write that letter to his family and say I knew him, he was a great guy and he absolutely loved what he was doing, and I wished them the best during their time of mourning," Nilsen said.

Similar ceremonies were held throughout North Carolina on Friday.

In Goldsboro, a downtown parade featured a group of veterans who have dedicated their time and effort to help those affected by Hurricane Matthew. The group's trailers were used as floats decorated with their work tools.

In Raleigh, a long-standing tradition honoring veterans continued at North Carolina State University, where ROTC members and hundreds of others gathered at the Bell Tower for a Veterans Day 5K, a tribute that dates back 99 years.

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